A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Syllables like flowing water, the house I lived in, close enough to the river to hear it on still nights. It’s a still night. That house is fifteen years away. You sleep, mouth open, skin pale against the pale pillow. All the dogs in the building across the street dream of backyards and bones too big to bury, bones stolen, no doubt, from the Museum of Natural History, not so far from here. The characters in the novel I set down wander its sentences, lost without me. I used to sit with a flashlight and a book and a radio. I used to get in trouble. I used to believe in enlightenment, in an age of it coming. I believed, too, in love with a capital L, believed in the upper case abstractions, believed I could list the capitols of Europe where I believed I’d visit. At least I got that last one right. Two blocks away the Hudson says nothing we can distinguish. Every evening now I collect the lower case letters of your name and mine and of the city in which we live, and pour them into a jar. I’ve punched holes in its lid. I keep it on the bedside table. They glow dimly beside me. Someone dug up Tyrannosaur bones, brought them to New York. Someone filled this apartment with lamps. Beside me you breathe in quiet, convert it to somniloquy, but there’s no conversing. Soon the first dogs will stir, but till then it’s night still.
Copyright 2019 Gerry LaFemina. From Baby Steps in Doomsday Prepping (Madville 2019).