Sound Installation

By Beth Piatote

At the sound installation in Toronto
we wait to hear
we are waiting with our ears
for the transmutation of birdsong to percussion, for the sound
of piano keys plucked to life
by the call of dying birds

in the sculpture garden
the only shape is sound
we are waiting for the carving of air
made by vibration
but the speakers don’t breathe
except when a chord slips out,
a sigh

’iyó· x̣o’sa
I am waiting
for grief to lift, for a new story
to arrive. The city vibrates with memories
and sounds that were birds are now hammers
on wire. Still

we are waiting to hear
conscripted to sing their own dirge
on replay, over and over, while the local birds
chatter and play, tossing notes
back and forth kíne koná
back and forth kíne koná
back and forth kíne

I suddenly hear it, after waiting
I suddenly hear