What was the First Sound

it made, heaven's seam splitting?
Was the sound purple?

The sound was purple,
throbbing like a new-torn wound
under August drape.

Under August drape,
Miss Katrina's swollen gaze
considered bodies.

Consider bodies,
already filled with water
but secure in bone.

Secure in its bone,
a squat building shit bricks.
The sound was purple.

The sound was purple.
And only mutts, priestesses,
and tree trunks heard it.

Tree trunks heard it
ripping spit through matted leaves.

Wind found its color.

Wind found its color
and cast an eerie alto
to the first plops of rain

To the first plops of rain,
add the sound of purple,
shitted bricks losing bone,
the seam splitting and finally spilling


already filled with water.

From BLOOD DAZZLER (Coffee House Press, 2008)


Poems by Patricia Smith


Man on the TV Say

What Was the First Sound




Poetry Center Reading:

    Fall 2011