No. 9

the hours fade away
— peel
— pare
— husk
pumice to the heart
rubbed red and raw
the guards, they fall apart
dissolve into the dark
releasing brief relief
a voice to sing        to speak
to mutter    to uncover
to liberate and loosen
— a tongue stiff but not forgotten
— thoughts and words and longing
— fears and hopes and wanting
chaotic and disheveled
they were crossed
— with inhibitions
lost
— in self suppression
fraught
— with old tradition
until the night surrounded
unwound the tightness halting
the reticence untrusting
stripping weary wanderers
of their wariness inhuman
but now they see the dawn is coming
and each retreats.