by Stuart Dybek

man steps out of sunlight,
sunlight that streams like grace,
still gaping at blue sky
staked across the emptiness of space,
into a history where shadows
assume a human face.
A man slips into silence
that began as a cry,
still trailing music
although reduced to the sigh
of an accordion
as it folds into its case.

SOURCE: “Chord” appears in Stuart Dybek‘s collection Streets in Their Own Ink (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), available at

Photo: Nick J. Stone, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Find more of his work here.