We’d heard the prophets speak,
knew well their eloquent thunder, the split stone
and urgent whirlwind of their voice and word,
had grown used to the fierce synaptic streaks
of flame, the olive-bearing birds
and withered fields that figured their concern.
But what we’d never heard
was their silence: the wind grown inarticulate
at their retreat from us, the god’s command
hushed in the trees, a voice they’d said had stirred
for our ears that we might understand
what now, plainly, none of us could interpret.
At first we were relieved—
such talk of mystery and consequence
when there was work to do, laundry and errands,
the grain waiting for harvest. So we lived
unhindered for a while, our minds
less cluttered, clearer, fixed in the present tense.