The Laugh
by Don McKay

copyright © 2004 by Don McKay

The inverse of language is like a laughter that seeks to destroy language, a laughter infinitely reverberated.
                              – EMMANUEL LEVINAS

The laugh that ate the snake and
runs through the city dressed in a sneeze, the mischief
done in these sly
passages of time, when the tongue is
severed from the voice and
fed to the weather, when the running
patter of catbirds simply
swallows the agenda, nothing to be held back,
nothing rescued in a catch-phrase or figure, your
house is on fire
and your children are gone.
When evenings pass as unseen
immaculate ships, and folk –
everyone is suddenly folk – rush to their porches
and lift their faces to this
effervescence of air,
                Wishing what?
Just wishing.