Oak Leaves as Young Musicians
Frosted-glass window lit orange.
She cracks it open — oak leaves,
wind tossing them recklessly, a reminder
of the time to come:
dispersing, scattering, succumbing.
For now, the leaves lean languorously
up against and over top of one another, front to back, front to back, checking
what the others are doing.
A high school orchestra chatting
as they tune their flutes, their horns,
their violas and violins.
They will do this, with one another,
until a baton’s tapping becomes insistent,
sounding from the curved, metal corner
of a conductor’s podium.
It is when they leave that it happens:
standing at your kitchen sink, rinsing a mug with dried coffee rings
in its bottom — you don’t drink coffee, but keep instant for guests.
It is silence re-forming behind, in front, and to either side
of you, which you somewhat mitigate by switching on the radio.
It is that, but it is also knowing that this wish not to be alone in your own home
will evaporate a week from now,
when returning a phone call will become something
you push away to honor your quiet,
all the while unconvinced
a longing evaporated means
you have learned the lesson
it wants so urgently to teach you.