Word of Mouth

Did you hear the news? someone asks,
and someone else nods
while pressing his hands deep inside
his pockets like two mice
burrowing against the cold.
It hangs in the air

like the music in a violin string
waiting to be released.
I found out just now, couldn’t believe it.
The other man fiddles
with the lint between his fingers
and stares into the distance

while frost collects
on the empty staves of musical notation
which describe the silence
that follows a passing train.

David Chorlton, a longtime resident of Phoenix, Arizona, who has a European past rooted in industrial Manchester, England, and cultural Vienna in Austria. The latest chapter of his writing life is Speech Scroll, a long poem due from Cholla Needles Press in Joshua Tree, California. Read other articles by David.