Some songs cannot be heard at all
because they cannot be heard as songs:
the starling’s shriek, the mute hush of waterfall,
the grandfather clock’s blunt knock at the pendulum’s end.
I was alone there at night, making apophatic stabs
into the dark beyond the perimeter of light
from the dull incandescent of the back door.
It’s hard to believe that anyone ever stared at those stars
long enough to see their arcs, to name them
for rapists and warlord kings, the goddess of love,
or a fleet messenger’s harp—the general consensus
is that they were tied down with the heavy golden chain
of the human story—some disappointing if diverting lie.
It was not until I returned to bed, trying to tempt Morpheus,
that a low and haunting hum came up from down
the hall, and for a nightmare moment I saw all of us
become a brief caesura, a sonic afterthought,
in the lowing song of everything else.
Cover image by Jeremy Thomas