No. 12

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No. 12 ‘The Sound of the City’

its sound
is silence
sure, there are
sirens, and car
horns, the
stampede
of train cars
following
one another in
and out
of the city
a thunderstorm
making them
wild

but these are
awkward, fleeting
surprises that
surprise
no one, like
the odd firecracker
a few weeks after
the 4th

the noise you
do hear is machine,
secondary, only
a byproduct of
the silence

40 people in a car
their thoughts fenced
in like
corralled animals
that know the way out,
found the hole below
the fence, but
remain—not a vocal
cord vibrates
not a mouth tears
itself open
except perhaps in
a yawn

with a city
so populous with
sentience
a collective cry could
deafen the skies,
fell every bird and
bring the clouds
crashing down
—a heavy fog that
would dissipate
in our breathy howl

instead we lash out
at the ground,
shoving soil into
that hole, shoring
up our fence
so that the centuries
come and go
like weeds

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