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“Ode to Almost-Silence”

Read "Ode to Almost-Silence", a poem about silence.

Praise to the door clicking shut,
to absence warming up the room,

but not completely: fireplace flame still
spitting its lazy opinions, radiator

humming its calm, the floorboard’s creak
letting you know it’s still there

but won’t interrupt like the brash
morning jazz your husband plays

before coffee opens the ears
to thought and conversation.

Here: the louder hush of outside world
kept out—wind, occasional cat,

an emergency (not yours)
begging for someone else

to run, or fix, or bark commands
that can’t break into this cordoned-off

zone of chosen contemplation—
where, sometimes, even now, you hear

the memory of waves, the scratch
of sole on sand, the swirl of shells, and even

your chin lifting into salty air
as you listen not for the lost

and gone, but for what is
there and here inside

the ear and the empty
house, not empty after all.

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