Perhaps it’s best not to speak for a while. A vow of silence. An hour at least, maybe two. An entire day, whole, self-contained, its own thesis, my presence not needed as proof of anything. I may be struck dumb already, just unaware. I move to speak, choosing a word for texture, for resilience, a sense of refreshing falling over me, others nodding to keep me thinking I’ve been heard. So difficult to know the penance one is doing for some past choice in need of forgiveness. Is tripping on the sidewalk penance? Is losing one’s keys? Being lost on mountain roads? What about cancer, mudslides, tsunamis, fires on the horizon? Whose penance requires standing before a cliff for three full minutes, deciding to step back? Perhaps it’s best to take a vow of not trying to understand our thoughts. What sense in how the light stuns beautiful a spider web brushed from porch columns, rebuilt overnight? What sense in Blake’s human form divine, in priests in black gowns making their rounds, graves where flowers should be? No wonder the world is remade in a sparrow’s eye, in whispers between whispers we attempt to share, in prayers slipped in between the prayers we pray. No wonder the words of a poem are not the ones we hear nor the ones the poet, searching an hour’s lack, wrestles into place, the silence suddenly more silent, deeper and farther than first conceived.