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Ventriloquist's Dummy

Brian Henderson
From:   The Expanding Room. Black Moss, 1977.


1st,
      how it's put together
the brain solid walnut
cut from trunk
                      the grain an exact measure
of its future flexibility
                                   strength vectors
such peace there he told me

as the light retreats to its bulb
when dawn fills
silence withdraws here
by the natural phenomena of sound pressure
           So much for theory

& now,
           through the hole in the back
                                                       displacing
the lips
           are cherrywood
and are worked simultaneously
by a single copper wire
                                   upon which:
                                                       everything

open: the wind plays against fingerstops

danger is in words
           be silent then
but under what stress to be free
the white lips stretched to a law

with the hand in the back only
for mouth wag, mouth flap

for its own purposes
(it speaks nothing
                                   but silence)
it steals its master's voice



Brian Henderson's works copyright © to the author.


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