Shadows stretch across the pine floor
like a tide creeping higher on the beach
nearing the chairs where we sit in your apartment
as the water edges closer and closer.
If we could speak openly
I don’t think I would need to imagine an ocean
with a boat nearing the shore
to sense what remains unsaid
as barnacles that cling to a boat’s hull,
layer upon layer encrusted against
a once smooth bottom.
And the murmuration of starlings
which I can actually see outside your window
dipping and rising above the field
would not seem closer to articulation
than anything we can say.
Worse than waking to his cries,
the dog’s low-throated moans
vibrate along the hard wood floors
all the way from the living room
up through the soles of my bare feet
as I stand to go and comfort him.
Four days later and still
his howls pool and eddy inside me,
as I wash the breakfast dishes,
place the purple asters in the fluted
China vase and walk the scrappy woods,
white pines towering
wind-blurred words flying
from their limbs like invisible birds
I have no way to name—
I am grateful to the dog
who has given grief a song.
What a long and wearing silence.
Can you hear me. I am singing.