Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Poem


The experts now say that bowel sounds don’t matter
That tinkling awakening of the gut
Like all timeworn customs, time shatters.
When to feed used to be so open and shut
Whether ileus, post traumatic
We listened first, it was axiomatic

Lightly press the stethoscope for guidance
A gray moon in early dusk
But it’s a hollowed-out husk
Here there is something worse than silence
A conch against your ear
But it’s not the ocean, I fear,
It’s all the air in the world rushing to escape;
Breathe deep, before you suffocate

In dreams I linger here, convinced I hear something stirring
Or is it the bed creaking, the diaphragm shifting on your skin
Absent bowel sounds, absent sin
Or just forgotten?
Where have you gone?
I wake thrashing to a shrill whirring
Of wings beating in the early dawn
All we used to know and have, sadly misbegotten

I didn’t want to proceed until I heard a sign you were alive
You must stay right here under my watchful eye
But now they say those sounds never mattered---
You’re free to go.
In the silent winter I went crunching through the snow
To the edge of the creek and stamped my boots
Until all the thick black ice shattered
There’s so much to see below
Sticks and stones, dead leaves, broken off roots.

What would I do instead?
Fall prone and, against the frozen slab, press my ear?
I’d be afraid of what I might hear
Flat against the snow, a shudder, a rising shiver
The flow of a hidden eternal river
Or worse, a nothingness, the feeble sound of the dead

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