for Michael Burkard
Every voice has its timbre, pace, hesitations.
Spoken, it moves toward the world, received
by some, too inaudible for others. One voice
might be compared to rain, another to an
umbrella behind a door. An audience may
gather. Once I had a teacher whose voice
entered mine, helped me hear what mine was
becoming, what it wished to gather, what it
would need to lay aside. His went silent then,
as needed, though often I visit its balm,
the spiritual life hinted at behind utterance,
motives that change as soon as recognized,
feelings of being lost yet not entirely, not
for long. From whom? From what age? Life’s
present tense is more immense than any one
voice can sing; it invites others—all at once
and each singular—to join. A voice is a door
that never stops opening—sky wide beyond
any beyond the mind imagines entering, even
as it enters continually, unceasingly ever itself.
Jeff Hardin has published seven collections of poetry, most recently Watermark, A Clearing Space in the Middle of Being, and No Other Kind of World. Recent and forthcoming poems appear in The Louisville Review, Laurel Review, Southern Poetry Review, Southern Review, Braided Way, Zone 3, Grist, and many others. He lives and teaches in TN.