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The words are what I know,

but they are no comfort.

The comfort is in the music

that says what I cannot know.


The words are what I use

to make a map of the one place

there is, but it's the music

takes me where I want to go.


The words are addresses,

but the things that live in them

have always just moved, and can be reached,

if at all, through the music.


The words are a name

for the shadow I dress in.

The radiance that wears me

answers only to the music.


Rhina P. Espaillat



From Landscapes with Women: Four American
Singular Speech Press, 1999.  Reprinted
by permission of the author.


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