Rhetorical Analysis of an Antelope’s Silence

Written by Trini Rogando

The author begins with a personal anecdote.
                   My baby, you always ran so fast and jumped

so high—you’ve gone further than I can follow.
                   As she speaks of your dreams, rounding her syllables

so closely to the way you did, it’s almost
                   as if you guided her ethos yourself. But see,

the thing is—you didn’t. You didn’t say goodbye or leave
                   a note; no way for anyone to sing your sense into prose.

When you threw yourself off of that dusty overpass, the
                   rest of us were rendered hyenas. Wild and hurting

and desperate for any last scraps of you. Reliving memories
                   again, again, again. If I squint, perhaps I can find glory

in our hungering persistence. The circular narrative
                   in wondering why. Outside, the bruised tinging

of a new dawn is choked by the haze of metaphor,
                   as if your spirit diffused into its bloodshot

light, and we salivate at the view. Later our gazes
                   eat your casket raw, throats brimming

with silent bile. Bile analogous to words.
                   Words analogous to love.

Love analogous to rescue, and even the
                   small brains of yearning jackals

know that rescuers would be worshipped, not regretful.
                   In actuality it is our prayer slathered over your

limp form, our trembling analyses jabbing at your
                   overcast soul, guessing at reconciliation.

In your mother’s eulogy she juxtaposes grief with
                   celebration. How contrary. How parallel

and how structured. She is the author and she is trapped
                   in a cage of ink and skin, pawing at your obituary,

snarling at your silence until it falls into form. But if
                   one strips away the rose clouds of imagery and

death, the dawn is simply a dawn and the questions
remain questions and no essayist can really

find meaning in your stillness, though we all keep clawing.
                   Oh—perhaps this is what remains, regardless

of species or sky: repetition. The daily waking up to a world
                   of lack. To the absence of answers on your breath.

Maybe one morning we will find sanctuary in this
                   continuance, and your reasons will fall like stars

from where you leapt to scrape the sun. Until then, we squint,
                   again, again, again.