When I was a child, they sang outside the door.
—It wasn’t really singing, but a high
repeated pizzicati, I forget why.
Sex, probably. Before the night, before
the huge red sun sank low, and then sank lower,
they started. They sang till moonrise, they sang till I
was lost in dreams. And if I woke to cry
from fear, or because my throat was sore,
they were still singing. All across the South,
wherever we moved, they sang home to me.
In this dry country now, I toss in bed,
deafening, the stale taste of age in my mouth.
My hearing chirps with a virtual stridency,
with silence. And I am strangely comforted.
© Jack Butler