Third Person Polyphonic

Narratives flood the garden
of sound. Why does rocking
a cradle calm them—shake
trebling from all those voices?

She can only hear two
knocking about
in her head now.
When it comes down

to a single
deepening whisper,
she’ll know she’s arrived
home for the night.

Knock Three Times

A case of grinding
teeth as if
to shout out:

“I’m still alive!”

A strained ankle
for no reason—could be
misspelled. Those whispers

could mean it’s time to play

dead or to move
farther down river
before the quiet descends again.

Scent of Carriage Horse Relief

A virtual affair they won’t
acknowledge face to face. Toe

to toe helpless
in July heat. Computer aided
breezes don’t count

especially when the sound
of shoed hooves against pavement
is on mute.


When her grandfather paid her
a nickel for each half
hour she could sit still

and mute

neither could know how
her father’s words would evaporate
into close Jersey shore air

for free, how the other capital A
disease untreated might do the same
to a friend she can’t bear to be near—

and stillness becomes

permanent. Even if
she kept those nickels
all these years, she couldn’t purchase

a reprieve
from either for anyone.