Vast silence

(with a nod to Ted Chiang)


Natives captive a lifetime, forbidden 

to speak. Requests for water, food


sent by nod, wave, blink. Their language

ignored, never embraced, explored.


With the last death, gone, any chance

to know beautiful stories, poems, songs.


At the end, only vast silence.

On dungeon wall, a scrawled message,


in English, the lettering, crude --

you are good we loved you.

                            Timothy Pilgrim