Contents | September 2003
More on poetry from The Atlantic Monthly.
Also by Stanley Plumly:
The Marriage in the Trees (1996)
John 6:17 (2001)
The Atlantic Monthly | September 2003
Hear the author read this poem (in RealAudio)
Silent Heart Attack
by Stanley Plumly
When silence is another kind of violence.
Like all the breath you've ever breathed
suddenly swallowed. But since it happened
over days, each night a little worse,
it lacked the drama of my father's death.
He went down, like a building, on his knees.
I sat in the dark inside the feeling
I was turning into stone, or, if I turned
around, to salt, salt-crystals diamonding
the blackouts. Silence is what you hear,
the mouth a moon of Os, black filling up
the body with its blood. I listened.
Each night, all night, my father louder.
Stanley Plumly is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland. A collection of his critical essays, Argument and Song, will be published this month.
Copyright © 2003 by The Atlantic Monthly Group. All rights reserved.
The Atlantic Monthly; September 2003; Silent Heart Attack; Volume 292, No. 2; 116.