Guide

by Gibson Fay-LeBlanc

She led me in among the voiceless things.
A long hallway, of course, and locked doors.
She asked me to describe their pins and springs.

Some glittered, some were bone; others clung
to jambs on chains: padlocks of flesh, of coral.
She led me quietly, with cunning, and sang

wordlessly, asked of the contents and tongues
she heard shifting behind the veins of mortar.
I asked her what she knew of hidden things.

I said, The mechanisms are mystifying,
the tumblers keyless: they’re best left unforced.
She asked me to describe a latch, a spring.

I said, This vault’s old, see the patterning
on the lock?  A child’s scratchings: a hex to ward
off those led in among the voiceless things.

And she: It’s just a door, push it, let it spring
how else will you know what’s in there, so long stored?
I let her in among my voiceless things
pins in my hands, I began remembering.