“The Letter Before A” by Colette Inez

Colette Inez


The letter before A carries an absence
waiting to be born

out of radio waves and ghosts of lost rhymes
unnamable as god in the void.

Carrying a presence dense with text,
the letter after Z waits to be born

into nothingness—phantom dispatch of anonymous
names blown at the illiterate fair

attended by every invisible child doing nothing
and the little brown fox jumping and scrambling.

Aleph’s ox horns, an A upside down,
and zed on a sled to oblivion.

Read me twigs blown in the dirt, veins
of porphyry, cranes in a line.

That alphabet of cracks on our lips, and in dust
lightly written, signaling hunger.

Lean flesh of words unspoken wait to unfold.
Meaning dances as we spin words, mysterious, reciprocal,

linked in marked conglomerations,
the alphabet of ashes in the absence before A

evolving to clouds
and the letter after Z buzzing with hypothesis.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003


Colette Inez: “A poem is born right here, somewhere in my heart, in my blood vessels, in my gut. It comes to the brain much later. I have to feel them actually pulsing in my body, and then when they get shaped, when the brain, the controller, the pilot, whoever one’s metaphor, however this metaphor can extend, takes over. I like to think that my brain is the lesser part of my poems and that my heart, in the best of my poems, is the one that rules.” (webpage)

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