Silence as a silent companion and a deafness
tearing mounds of cotton over eardrums desperate
for sound and focus in a darkness crisp and smooth
and uninterrupted save the distant loneliness
of cows at pasture or the gargling rumble of an engine
time-worn and dependable and comforting
in a dawn that comes too quickly and too solitarily.
I grew up with shy coyotes in the field just outside town,
with a creek that dried up in the summertime
and froze nearly top to bottom in winter’s hands
with ice thick enough to walk on and a friend
who did and drowned from memory in sadness.
I grew up with forests that burned orange horizons
into the summer sky with a blue haze that hung
between the valleys since the mountains were named.
Slide decades forward to varying levels of society
claiming an urbanity forever clawing at the edges
of seams along the horizon and on the rooftops
floating among a pillow of light and sound
familiar and unimpressed by night or day or wind
winding between buildings creaking like loose signposts
or the chains of swings swaying in some distant park
crowded with fear and his adversaries thick.
A murmur of the hustle hangs just inside earshot
and behind a drawstring curtain flitting between
the present steely stale air of darting attention
and the muffled whispers of insignificance,
a soundtrack as forgettable as it is memorable.
The poetry of the city claims a different meter
as addicting as the splash of rain in car tires
passing in the night, as familiar as the melody
of trains approaching the station a mile away,
just at the edge of wind’s grasp on still nights.