Where do words come from? from what rubbing of sounds are they born on what flint do they light their wicks what winds brought them into our mouths Their past is the rustling of stifled silences the trumpeting of molten elements the grunting of stagnant waters Sometimes they grip each other with a cry expand into lamentations become mist on the windows of dead houses crystallize into chips of grief on dead lips attach themselves to a fallen star dig their hole in nothingness breathe out strayed souls Words are rocky tears the keys to the first doors they grumble in caverns lend their ruckus to storms their silence to bread that's ovened alive
From She Says by Vénus Khoury-Ghata, translated from the French by Marilyn Hacker, published by Graywolf Press, May 2003. Copyright © 2003 by Vénus Khoury-Ghata. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press. All rights reserved.