Numerology of Silence

Is there any difference between the silence of two and three? —A. Molotkov

Silence between two, underlaid by celibacy
or monogamy, fidelity through menopause,
is intimacy; the negative potential is real.

Silence of three, in the boardroom or bedroom,
conspiracy or love-triangle, is intimate too;
a testing of allegiances.

Silence among four, your daughter’s suitor
comes for dinner, on the eve of graduation,
is kinship too; silence as makeshift survival raft.

Silence of five is like the silence of seven, or nine;
but the silence of millions, death of a prophet, or well-
loved musician, is different: not unlike the silence of one.


On Returning from the High Country

I need to find a different line of work, one that measures progress in
footfall, elevation gain and descent, progress through transects

of biome and microclimate, hurried season of bees, hummingbirds
holding summer’s frame still at eye-level; wildflower sex at the speed

of glacial till, and glaciers clinging still to the craggy roof of the world—
I could make a career of camp setup and takedown; scouting food cache

& unmapped spring; tracking huckleberries, morels, currents gathered
in a loose shirt; casting with Aengus’s brown topless girl, who divines

trout from an emerald lair with a cane pole and red berry—
I must begin and end each day like this, beside a ring of river stones,

feasting on a small, steely fire of my own making.


Scot Siegel, an Oregon poet and city planner, is the author of five books of poetry, most recently The Constellation of Extinct Stars and Other Poems (2016) and Thousands Flee California Wildflowers (2012), both published by Salmon Poetry of Ireland. His writing is part of the permanent art installation along the Portland-to-Milwaukie Light Rail Orange Line. Siegel has served as Artist-in-Residence with Playa at Summer Lake and the Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts Spring Creek Project.