“Freedom of Speech” by Lucie Brock-Broido

If my own voice falters, tell them hubris was my way of adoring you.
The hollow of the hulk of you, so feverish in life, cut open,
Reveals ten thousand rags of music in your thoracic cavity.
The hands are received bagged and examination reveals no injury.
Winter then, the body is cold to the touch, unplunderable,
                                 Kept in its drawer of old-world harrowing.
Teeth in fair repair. Will you be buried where; nowhere.
Your mouth a globe of gauze and glossolalia.
And opening, most delft of blue,
                                                                  Your heart was a mess—
A mob of hoofprints where the skittish colts first learned to stand,
Catching on to their agility, a shock of freedom, wild-maned.
The eyes have hazel irides and the conjunctivae are pale,
With hemorrhaging. One lung, smaller, congested with rose smoke.
The other, filled with a swarm of massive sentimentia.
                                                                   I adore you more. I know
The wingspan of your voice, whole gorgeous flock of harriers,
Cannot be taken down. You would like it now, this snow, this hour.
                                 Your visitation here tonight not altogether unexpected.
The night-laborers, immigrants all, assemble here, aching for to speaking,
                                                                                        Longing for to work.

Lucie Brock-Broido, “Freedom of Speech” from Stay, Illusion. Copyright © 2013 by Lucie Brock-Broido.

Lucie Brock-Broido

Lucie Brock-Broido

Lucie Brock-Broido is the author of four volumes of poetry, A Hunger, The Master Letters, Trouble In Mind, and Stay, Illusion, which was nominated for both the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award. She’s been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as awards from the American Poetry Review and the Academy of American Arts and Letters. She is a devoted teacher who’s held professorships at Bennington, Harvard (where she was a Briggs-Copeland poet), and Columbia, where she is currently the Director of the poetry program and a recent recipient of a Presidential Teaching Award for outstanding teaching.