Still, the steam rises from the roofs in the morning, like breath.
I sit here at my little desk and look out the window in silence
and notice there is a humming in my ears.
The simple lack of noise is terrifying, until I
remind myself that I can hear the birds and the sound
of my fingers, typing. This morning, in my rounds,
people asked how I was doing, and I couldn’t look them
in the eyes.
What I see is not pristine. There are layers of ugliness and decay:
the still-gray side of my garage, the chain link kennel fence, and the
weed maple trees that hold it up, even though the neighbors’ fence behind us
These are not the subjects of poems, people tell me.
You are far too sentimental. But what am I supposed to do?
It is the bird songs that save me, every morning, but only
when I listen for them. They sing even though I don’t fill
the bird feeder. I fail in my responsibilities, I don’t keep up
a respectable household. There are flies in the basement,
like Beezlebub, whatever that means. I can’t stand the word
heathen, even in jest. Orthodoxy never seemed a friend to me.
I like the idea that the sun releases the frost, and you can see it.
It is just a thing that happens, I know. But I like to watch it.
I hear dogs barking in the neighborhood. Cars drive by.
Sometimes, I think the limit of my courage is to be quiet and listen.
Even though I’ve heard people shout that exactly this
is the wrong thing to do.