The Unspoken Not-yet
What can be said at all can be said clearly;
and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent.
What can you say?
You can say:
No cacophony of choristers, no
operatic arias adjusting
to affliction, to the tender anguish
of the somatic suggestion that
your warranty might soon expire.
You say what you can say
in a body;
there is nothing
that can be said
outside of this.
There is nothing but this body—nothing
but this slow slaughtering of self.
As if you ever aspired to stay
earthbound. You’d prefer
No. More like:
the sudden silent breathlessness
of isolation—just before you are
marooned; shipwrecked; a hull, shattered.
Not altogether capsized, nor drowning;
and then, this, quickly now, the quiet
promise of the unspoken
not-yet, of becoming everlastingly
unchained. You say nothing
except what you can say.
Nothing else can be said
outside of this:
Jennifer Stitt is a poet as well as a historian of modern American thought, culture, and politics. She earned a B.A. and M.A. in history from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is a Ph.D. candidate in U.S. intellectual history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her writing has appeared in Aeon, Aura Literary Arts Magazine, Big Think, Chronically Lit, Essay Daily, On Being, Quartz, Quiet Storm Literary Arts Magazine, Public Seminar, and other places. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and is currently working on a book about the history of solitude.