Beating in the cage of my estranged father’s chest are the remains of our history, flickering faint and fading. The story of our blood, told low, hushed and near forgotten. Ours is a cartography of ruin, a vacancy strewn with all things broken—hearts and homes. Promises, to resuscitate a name, placed with shaking hands like flowers on the graves of our departed. But can we bring back a past unknown, a language set to be disassembled, undone? The language of a Hungarian rabbit farmer, crossing the ocean toward shores of more. Having it ripped from his throat, his tongue, stolen, the loss if it looming, its blooming negated. The language of wilting, of breaking, of making do. Becoming something else. The constant mining of a new continent, for the consonants and vowels to allow the right words. So this now is our new language, a slurry of sound and blur. Of search engines and bad translations. The insistent ring of a whirling world. A twisted linguistics. Language of branching birches, of cranes in flight like winged arrows piercing the heart of the sky. Of the wind in the grass, the distant drone of gunked-up motors winding out, of the rain Morse coding the undecipherable mantra of the clouds. Language of birds, their dizzying calligraphy. Of flies buzzing, of bombs, falling like acorns, budding like orchids sown in flames. A wound, too, is a language. A womb. A tomb. An exhumation. The language of orphans, shaping themselves into the names they’ve been given, of their songs, sung in grunts, the minor keys and hopeless tones of lonely. Language of their dead, grafittied across bricks and bus stop benches, slung on phone lines, the language of sneakers casting shadows on the street, on the blood that was left behind to dry brown in the sun. Language of sirens, catastrophe, of cost and bills come due. Of coins in pockets and placed over the eyes of those who’ve crossed over, of cash hissing between hands, of lampposts lending their lurid light, of pawnshop gates ratcheting upward. Language of the smell of memory. Of the votives lit, placed on the alter of our altered lineage, our inheritance, a blank page, a scattering of ghosts.
About The Author
William R. Soldan
William R. Soldan is a writer from Rust Belt Ohio. He's the author of the story collections In Just the Right Light, Lost in the Furrows, and Houses Burning and Other Ruins, The poetry collection So Fast, So Close, and most recently, the novel Undone Valley. He currently lives in Youngstown with his wife and two children, and you can find him on Twitter @RustWriter1 if you'd like to connect.