Poetry by Eileen Dreyer

There’s a Silence

There’s a silence where you stood, 

an empty space

where something lived–



Your face has been forfeit,

its creased comfort and questing eyes, 

laughing eyes, 

gentle eyes,

eyes that have suffered the world and still loved it;

your hands are gone,

once callused with capability

restless with want of doing

curled with the memory of treasures held

from pudgy fingers to

hard-edged weapons to

endless information to 


Your laughter is lost, 

once full as waterfalls spilling down a mountain rill,

sly as small children,

welcome as warmth. 

But most of all your voice is gone;

your never-silent voice,

your symphony of syncopation and song,

vowels and consonants tumbling like

stones skipping a pond,

leaves skittering over the last green grass,

birdflight etched against a bright blue sky;

anxious, exhilarated,

dense with question, resonant with wonder

Never silent it seemed;

for friend, for foe, for

perfect chance-met 


Shedding laughter like light and lancing

pain on the blade of truth, on words

that already knew what pain tastes like.

It is how I know you really are gone.

There’s a silence where you stood.


My ancestors’ land is littered with gray granite ghosts;

windowless, roofless churches

left without people or comfort or care;

half-walled graveyards, the names long since lost

to time and trouble and rain;

Cone-helmed towers of round rock once

strong enough to hold off hordes;

Weathered altars open to the sky

where sacred ceremonies

by white-robed pagan priest

once blessed the earth and

set the seasons.

They are cherished there, these ghosts, like aged aunts

brought out on occasion to tell family tales,

with a seat at the table so the family line abides

and repetition preserves the names and stories

and places sanctified in myth and memory.

Where I live, they would never survive,

these scrapbooks of men and majesty lost,

of pain, of joy, of insignificant lives spent,

all forfeits of relentless time;

They would be torn down, scraped out

like last night’s eggs from a cast iron skillet,

so we could start anew,



the shoulders on which we build, both great and small,

the lost and the lingering,

swept away

until nothing is left to remind us

that no matter our wishes,

we build our future with the granite of ghosts.

When You Watch

When you watch them long enough,

laying back in the dew dampened grass,

the silence swelling around you,

the night so deep it touches the back of your tongue;

when you watch them

in their secret,swirling spin,

their light a thousand million

lives away,

so cold the moon can’t warm them;

when you watch


the wet seeping through your shirt,

the cold wrapped around

hand and head and heavy brown shoes,

when you watch them long enough,

the stars dance

About the contributor

Eileen Dreyer is a New York Times bestselling, award-winning author with 41 fiction novels and 10 short stories in diverset genres. She is currently working on a nonfiction travelogue. She grew up and remains in St. Louis.

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