Trying to Sing After a Year of Silence by Ace Boggess

My throat whines like worn brakes,
metal rubbing metal over a wet street.

Stop. High notes fail to register.
My tongue tastes like sucking on a coin.

Hands collect their rhythm in time,
patience, & practice, but memory

plays the unwanted guest
who guzzles expensive bourbon &

forgets to turn off kitchen lights.
It takes a lot of work to recapture a moment,

feel without forced expressions,
phone calls at midnight, being done unto.

Chords are joy, & words are joy, &
even the squawk & fatigue are joy.

I have no other lyric on my mind,
appreciate the song in front of me,

its staccato thrumming, its ache
in my mouth, the loneliest twang.



Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry—Misadventure, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in the Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press in 2021.