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His voice was once heard

by Ilari Pass

The story of death is in the leaving.


There is no sweetness here

    no shelter that’s not forced

                 no golden door, no sunset gates.


There are no words 

                         in a lifeless piece of legislation


for your vacant body placed in the hard bed

                                of a grave, no birds to drink the cold


rain cupped in your open hands, which hold

          emptiness like a treasure. You apprehend no god


 in the closure of your eyes, which see

       nothing, always. You cannot be named


by hymn or howl. What have you become?

       No revenant ever tells. Let the rain


come down.  The shutters on the village houses


close.  His voice was once heard

        in your house. Your horses stand for now


under the distant trees. They do not forgive. 

       They do not condemn. Your body, left


here under this earth, will not be found.  One horse,

      wet with rain, turns and bows down, eating.

About the Author

Originally from Maplewood, NJ, Ilari Pass is a retired maintenance worker of the United States Postal Service. She holds a BA in English from Guilford College of Greensboro, NC, and an MA in English, with a concentration in literature, from Gardner-Webb University of Boiling Springs, NC. She was awarded the Broad River Review Editors' Prize in Poetry Award for 2016 and 2017, and Ron Rash Award in Poetry finalist for 2019.

Other works appear or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry Drunk Monkey: Literature and Film, JuxtaProse Literary Magazine, Free State Review, Blue Mountain Review, and others.

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