Freedom of Speech

By Lucie Brock-Broido b. 1956 Lucie Brock-Broido
If my own voice falters, tell them hubris was my way of adoring you.
The hollow of the hulk of you, so feverish in life, cut open,

Reveals ten thousand rags of music in your thoracic cavity.
The hands are received bagged and examination reveals no injury.

Winter then, the body is cold to the touch, unplunderable,
                                 Kept in its drawer of old-world harrowing.

Teeth in fair repair. Will you be buried where; nowhere.

Your mouth a globe of gauze and glossolalia.
And opening, most delft of blue,
                                                                  Your heart was a mess—

A mob of hoofprints where the skittish colts first learned to stand,
Catching on to their agility, a shock of freedom, wild-maned.

The eyes have hazel irides and the conjunctivae are pale,

With hemorrhaging. One lung, smaller, congested with rose smoke.
The other, filled with a swarm of massive sentimentia.

                                                                   I adore you more. I know
The wingspan of your voice, whole gorgeous flock of harriers,

Cannot be taken down. You would like it now, this snow, this hour.
                                 Your visitation here tonight not altogether unexpected.

The night-laborers, immigrants all, assemble here, aching for to speaking,
                                                                                        Longing for to work.

Lucie Brock-Broido, "Freedom of Speech" from Stay, Illusion. Copyright © 2013 by Lucie Brock-Broido.  Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Published with arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of The Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC.

Source: Stay, Illusion (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Lucie Brock-Broido b. 1956

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Subjects Living, Health & Illness, The Body, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Nature, Winter

 Lucie  Brock-Broido

Biography

Lucie Brock-Broido was born in Pittsburgh, was educated at Johns Hopkins and Columbia University, and has taught at Bennington, Princeton, Harvard (where she was a Briggs-Copeland poet), and Columbia. She is the recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, as well as awards from the American Poetry Review and the Academy of American Arts and Letters.

In an interview with Carol Maso for BOMB magazine in . . .

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Health & Illness, The Body, Love, Realistic & Complicated, Nature, Winter

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.