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The voice is clean. Has heft. Like stones
Dropped in still water, or tossed
One after the other at a low wall.
Chipping away at what pushes back.
Not always making a dent, but keeping at it.
And the silence around it is a door
Punched through with light. A garment
That attests to breasts, the privacy
Between thighs. The body is what we lean toward,
Tensing as it darts, dancing away.
But it’s the voice that enters us. Even
Saying nothing. Even saying nothing
Over and over absently to itself.
This poem is part of BR’s special package celebrating National Poetry Month.
Tracy K. Smith’s first two collections of poems, The Body’s Question and Duende, won the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the James Laughlin Award, respectively. Her third, Life on Mars, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2011.
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