Night Birds

When the night birds come out,
the long day is
finally done —
that sunny stuff of miracles
except when pain renders
all that light insufferable.

When the night birds come out,
I can cease my wincing,
I can relent at last
and wander freely.

When the night birds come out,
rattling the hedges,
singing night songs and tweeting,
the neighbors can be seen
through their windows, reading.

When the night birds come out,
the world is a delicious,
deepening blue. They hoot
and holler with self-satisfaction
at the view.

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Three Ways of Looking at Silence

I.
Sometimes it feels cavernous
and hungry
and I run away from it,
casually, like when you
fall but pretend that
you were running — I’ll
just stop at the gas
station, then grab an
iced tea — circling
the neighborhood,
hitting everywhere
but home.

II.
Sometimes it is
water, it is rest,
it is all I could
ever ask for
and more — after
the screams and
stickiness of
children all day, the
keep your body
calms and take a
breaks, now
to have just the
gentle ticking
of the kitchen
clock, the few
drips from the
faucet, the hum,
every now and
then, of the
refrigerator.

III.
In the country,
there is a deeper
night than I
knew, a darker
black, a quieter
quiet. When
I turn off
my lights to sleep,
I move my
body in the sheets
just to make a
sound.

Dawn

In between the roar
of the buses
and the screaming
man who wants to
help you, too, be
saved and the recyclables
clattering into the belly
of the trash truck
and the loudtalkers
and the two tiny
dogs who battle daily
on their morning
walk, sometimes,
in that just-before-morning
hour, as I rush
to the car, always late
to work, there is the
small, long call
of the mourning dove.
It sounds so faraway,
so hypnotic and
otherworldly that
for a moment, I
always wonder
if it is just a
figment of my
own brain, a
bit of curious
self-soothing,
so out of place, here
calling in the
morning on
43rd street.