Tricia Knoll


Listen to the audio version.

Wrapping on the quiet shawl, all-cotton green
may bleed into other cotton in the wash.
The woman who made it counted on tourists,
small coins, a quick sale and their flight to faraway.

This shawls knows my syllables of silence,
the magic of invisibility, how I pretend
to be a dumpy shrub compared
to apple trees I talk to as I prune.

In touch with what grows from roots, jays,
crows that bellyache over every god
and forget disaster when all is predictable.
You can bury me in green under a rose.

Iíll be as happy as Iíve ever been. I promise,
shawl over my face.

* * *


Listen to the audio version.

Do not hold silence if it is not the time. It is not forever, holding silence. Nor is holding the same as the years of silence in shame or misunderstanding. This is belly opening.

Set aside the inflammations of politics and news cycles. The acronyms of bureaucracies. Acknowledge words that delight you – like piccalilli, cockamamie, abyssopelagic, phantasmagoria and catahoula. Let them float.

Find the stepping stones to a heel-first walk on dry gravel. Think one syllable per step, letting go until each stride has its own acoustics. Opining, blessing, and listening – the greatest of these is listening.


Tricia Knoll is an Oregon poet with a voice disability, spasmodic dysphonia. Over the years as it has become difficult at times for people to understand her, she has pursued holding silence and listening more. Her poetry collections include Ocean's Laughter (Aldrich Press) about changes over time in a small town on the northern Oregon coast, Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press) which focuses on human interactions with wildlife, and coming in summer 2017, Broadfork Farm.