Michael Broder




Words descend from other words
            as living things descend,
and whether word or god or creature,

progeny bears the meaning of its root
            and cousins share something,
like the children of orior, oriri, Latin,

to rise, a verb that gives rise
            both to origin,
            which is a rising,

and to the Orient,
because there the sun rises,
            as Occident is the west,

from occido, occidere,
            to fall, but also to fall in battle,
            and thus to die.

Orior, oriri, a deponent verb,
            puts aside its active forms
but retains its active meanings—something holy,

            something sacred about the deponent,
how it turns the other cheek, wears a veil,
            vows silence in the service of language;

how when we look at something
            or say its name, it means so much more
            than what we see,

and sometimes what we see
            leads us astray,
takes us somewhere else, someplace opposite,

like someone who says he loves you
            when he does not,
or someone who says he loves you

when what he really means
            is that his love will kill you.