Ephphetha, that is, Be Opened

Shannon Berry

Then he looked up to heaven and groaned —Mark 7:34


At the solitude of pinewood rooms
at the silence of photographs
the internal motions pause and quiver.

Words slide through sockets,
squeeze through cracks between hinges
press through the sieves of screens.

Letters burn like Autumn leaves
smoking out September.


Letters pile on my desk.
Questions like persistent children.
I don’t know how to say—

Words stack, bound and numbered beside my bed,
collect in the metal box downstairs,
siphon through apartment walls.

On the radio I hear bubblegum and sex.
My disobedient lips keep singing.


At the silence of a darkened chapel
at the rustle of the priest’s cassock
my eyelids flutter and focus.

Here words are empty boxes,
dioramas from second grade,
pictures drawn before I colored in the lines.

Juries listen, sequestered,
to find this kind of justice.