Tonight all the leaves are paper spoons in a broth of wind. Last week they made a darker sky below the sky. The houses have swallowed their colors, and each car moves in the blind sack of its sound like the slipping of water. Flowing means falling very slowly— the river passing under the tracks, the tracks then buried beneath the road. When a knocking came in the night, I rose violently toward my reflection hovering beneath this world. And then the fluorescent kitchen in the window like a page I was reading—a face coming into focus behind it: my neighbor locked out of his own party, looking for a phone. I gave him a beer and the lit pad of numbers through which he disappeared; I found I was alone with the voices that bloomed as he opened the door. It's time to slip my body beneath the covers, let it fall down the increments of shale, let the wind consume every spoon. My voice unhinging itself from light, my voice landing in its cradle—. How terrifying a payphone is hanging at the end of its cord. Which is not to be confused with sleep— sleep gives the body back its mouth.
Phones were ringing
in the pockets of the living
and the dead
the living stepped carefully among.
The whole still room
was lit with sound—like a switchboard—
and those who could answer
said hello. Then
it was just the dead, the living
trapped inside their bloody clothes
ringing and ringing them—
and this was
the best image we had
of what made us a nation.