Token Strings

I never broke—no, never broke the silence.
It is still here, the beautiful unspeaking

that we wove out of this air. Spoken,
our breaths would have, poor tokens,

brokered a peace that could not last.
Last of all things we break, this speaking,

this habit of weaving. In leaving,
a kind of clarity is published. A sort of speech

delivered by absence, the news broken
as bones are, the skin pressed blue, illegible.

The sea discards its hissing syllables, sighs.
The hollow whole and held in its cupped hands.

by Alvin Pang
from What Happened: Poems 1997-2017 (2017)