Ah Bip
the hands that darted, laughing as they flew
flickering to be free, then flattening
against invisible glass, still prisoners

that bent a cage’s bars, that sang and breathed release
to knuckle up in hell, knock-kneed, still straightening

twin pioneers of flight that simply opened
a way to heart-speech – do not come out now.

And can those hands be still?
And can that manic part forget its lines?
That opera-hat lose face? That shout of surprise
pitched up against a miracle, die down?
Can the mute puppet sign off? The event end?

If there’s a dream
to comprehend the heart’s intricacies
of hurt and cruelty, and to veer towards
an edge of sunlight

if there’s a worm-hole
into a sphere, that’s close to death, of openness

into and out of

ah Bip, you knew.

Your father
silenced at Auchswitz – was it then you saw
a way?

No words.
narrow cutaway extras. You were a flower,
a fish, an outcry of the winds, the passions,

the perfect paradox, a silent poet,

who gave us, land beyond land and show after show,
the satire and the lyric, ode and haiku
in each astonished moment a new story

in the image of your travelling hands, your face,
the impetus of your body, the wittiest lines
heard by the listening mind of the world, who takes
back to herself, Marcel Marceau, her mime.

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