I watch liquid solidify
There is movement while paint is wet
Silent conquest of state by state
Stealthy, permanent ebbing tide
What’s the scale of this sky’s map?
It’s like watching the moon wane
Novels’ type into words set
Making amber from tree sap
Speechless, thinking all life dry
Breathing helps — it’s a long wait
While it’s wet, it has not died
Not a fossil, not yet slain
In my echoing mind’s void
I can hear my heart beat
I can feel somebody’s thoughts
Or my thoughts someone might repeat
My own voice I can drown out
With this silence I’ve long toyed
Words pulsate into their slots
Stars send signals though light’s bled
Blurred by time so there is doubt
Not to speak I have not vowed
Throbbing thoughts in my hushed head
It’s a symptomless gagged growth
So I live though not out loud
Are they words if they aren’t said?
What’s to keep when there’s no oath?
Max Orkis lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He works as a food writer and as a narrative designer for mobile games. His English and Russian prose and poetry have appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, The Atomic Flyswatter anthology, Weber — The Contemporary West, The Milo Review, Gravel, Empty Sink, Words with JAM, 2011 Grigoryev Competition Anthology, Topos, Polutona, Dvoetochie, and elsewhere.