Poetry at Sangam



LANGUAGE POEM by Richard Deming

It is raining. Outside the window, that is to say, beyond the glass. Where else? There is a tree outside the window. It is raining into the tree. This is not something we say. But it is true.

I think to ask, what is the first word you remember remembering? Perhaps I’ll text you.

The door closes behind my wife as she leaves to do some shopping. I hear a voice, or think I do, say these lines as I read them over, and my throat muscles move. I cannot feel them, but I know it to be the case. Or so I have read. I do not feel them, these muscles, as muscles, unless I have been screaming, which I do not do often. Enough. I worry: it doesn’t count. What is a real voice? Start there. That is my real voice, the woman said. To the letter.

To be grammatical is to be the same, or, I want to say, similar—as when it is raining outside and the television screen reflects the wall, the window, the water rushing from plugged gutters and draining against the sill. Then the television comes on—I pushed a button—and it is raining, perhaps across the plains in a John Ford film. Inside, outside.

I write a word into my palm, then close my fist. The house is empty and calm. No one comes when I call.