All night my neighbor’s windchimes keep me up,
but I would be up anyway. I am
in love, enjoying the fears
and little jealousies that might
like sudden intimacies aboard a train,
where sentimental strangers fall asleep,
heads lolling on your shoulder. When they awake
they are in love with you
or so unnerved
and never look you in the eye.
The hot night makes me think of walking in
the cold down by the river
where at night,
on long walks that I took to calm myself,
I’d kick coke bottles down the street.
above the tarmac,
skitter to a spin,
Sometimes I’d kick them blocks
before the clanking bottle broke, dissolved
to thick green shards that glittered with moonlight,
streetlight, houselight, or even by themselves,
of their own light.
I loved the shattering
and gloried in the noise it made. But now
I dream of going back to shush that boy.
Be quiet, I’d say. Your neighbors need their sleep.
Be calm, I’d say to that fierce boy, who might
sneak in a neighbor’s yard and break the chimes
that kept him up. Just wait, I’d say. the chimes
are searching for a tune.
It’s two A.M.
It could be any time. Rain starts, grows stronger.
Or is it bugs against the lighted glass?
They are persistent as drizzle, hitting
with the all-or-nothing authority of rain,
just that haphazard. I don’t trust my own
advice. I lie awake
and envy how,
after they’d drawn in everything they knew,
ancient cartographers made up the rest
to make the map complete
I think that’s what I’ll do—just draw
a river here, a mountain there, a town,
and then go out
to see how close to right
The windchimes tangle with the rain.
The almost music that
they almost make
stalls on the verge,
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 5 Number 8, on page 38
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