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Andrew Jan 28
what is an ocean?
why do the waves crash?
what makes the tide come in?
why do the rocks and the shells change in that way?
The effect of the water is clear.
Moving at its own pace
With no regard for how much each movement
changes what surrounds it.
And changing itself in the process.
My heartbeat pulses
like the north star
in my lower lip: I am, I am, I am.

My hair is humid; it curls like

I toss Petoskey stones back
to Lake Michigan
where they’ll be safe from
souvenir shops,

at least until they
land on shore again.

I suppose dreams are like that,

washing up again and again
on our eyes shoreline.
Lake Michigan sand rests within my bones;
it slows the timing of my heart
and scratches the vowels
budding on my wet tongue.

I imagine waiting for you
on a bench of ghosts
with coffee and binoculars,
observing the rush of continuous
flutter as seagulls settle
and then unsettle, as indecisive
as the mottled lake.

The afternoon light is brisk,
pulls my breath like a buoy chain--
     my heart sounds like it's underwater,
     its beats drive the tide
     that draws you, like an undertow, to me.
The sound of silence is a chainsaw
with no fuel, longing to gnash its teeth
against the husk of sweet bark.
It is the cold wind on a winter’s morning
that sweeps across a frozen Lake Michigan,
gently kissing the motionless street sweepers
in the city beyond.

The sound of silence
was never the sound of one hand clapping,
nor was it ever kosher.
It was never the final breath
of a young wanderer dangling
from the husk of sweet bark
that chainsaws longed for.

The sound of silence
is the paper blanket given to
homeless men and women,
the aftermath of broken plates
in the home of a south side apartment,
the lingering misty droplets
in a bathtub full of cold red water,
all of this
unheard and unseen.

The sound of silence
is not the absence of sound.
It is simply not noticing
that a starving child was whimpering
in the first place.

— The End —