—Tom Goff, Carmichael, CA
When too much to hear
is nothing at all to hear,
but much to put up with:
the silence of the heating unit
expanding its walls groaningly to heat our walls,
needing a noisy fan
to hush the air-rush, as of a span of the van,
against whose cholerically rainy heat
the outdoor rain-patter is lost: a rainstick
imitation, seedpod dry and hot simulacrum,
signifying and canceling rain in the freight-train
SPLASH OF SILENCE
—Taylor Graham, Placerville, CA
He left his room in disarray—toy cars scattered, coloring books on the floor with broken crayons. He didn’t make his bed this morning. Let your dog shove her nose between the sheets, memorizing the scent of this particular boy. How his mother would love to straighten the bedding, pull up the comforter, fluff the pillow; make everything right. Instead she watches at the window as you follow your dog down the street.
a deep pool under willow
dances small debris
(from What the Wind Says by Taylor Graham, Lummox Press, 2013)
someone yelled, and the gas-powered saw
stopped cutting blocks of concrete from what
had been floor or ceiling, and a jackhammer
shut down, men with hacksaw blades in bare
hands let air wash their palms torn and blistered
from trying to untangle twisted rebar. So many
hours after the earth began shaking, each one
quit what he was doing to listen for a human
sound from the depths of smashed building.
That sweaty, secret silence listening for
a prayer, a stranger’s living voice from some-
where in tumbledown dark.
ALMOST THE PERFECT POEM
Don’t say machines can’t simper.
It’s the old electronic joke and curse,
your document is gone with the works
of days. Flip the switch, walk
out to the ammonia scent of morning.
Stipulate that inspiration is transitory
and unpredictable, that the muse
sweeps with many colored brooms,
then flies away; and if she returns at all,
she brings roses or dust-rags, tatters
of evening, and maybe perfect silence.
FOR WALLACE STEVENS, AND OTHERS
NOT FOND OF THE HIGHLAND PIPES
—Kevin Jones, Elk Grove, CA
I do not know which
I prefer, the silence before
The bagpiper begins
To play, or the silence
After the bagpiper has finished.
—Medusa, with thanks to our contributors for their fine poems about Silence, and to Katy Brown for her intriguing photographs, all of which will help us wake up on this groggy first day of Daylight Savings Time.