Marge Piercy

Sharp Noises at Night
April 19, 2013 Marge Piercy

Sharp Noises at Night


When I travel to the Midwest, trains
hoot and clatter, waking me on the hour.
When New York friends come visiting,
deer stalking through fallen leaves
make them hear intruders.

Most adaptable of primates,
we grew accustomed to sirens,
to the howling of coywolves,
the sea grinding against rocks,
wind or snoring or traffic.

But a shot in the night, who
gets used to that? A friend whose
childhood was rotted through
by war, told me that she never
slept through bombardments.

Even when there was no longer
a place to hide from bombs
she got under her bed clutching
her little sister. At eighty, a crash
strips her still to fear’s bones.

When l lived on Broadway, traffic
murmured lullaby. After thirty
seven years in the woods, raccoons
mating like locomotives colliding
soothe me. Habit habituates.

Marge Piercy‘s most recent volume of poetry is Hunger Moon: New and Selected Poems, 1980-2010. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into sixteen languages.