May 23, 2009

Joanne Lowery

HOT NIGHT TOO LOUD FOR WORDS

If after a July dinner party
the noise outside the back door
drowns out your thank-you’s and good-bye’s
and your host doesn’t know what kind of bugs

fill the darkness with their rhythmic clacking,
fear not: though you know they are not crickets
hiding in the grass or cicadas clinging to trees,
nevertheless they are of an insect species

too small to devour you en route to your car
and too dumb to separate you from your keys.
You will run the gauntlet of their cacophony
and drive to your quiet house where only

familiar serenades can find you,
followed by silly dreams, then sunshine and coffee.
One calm tree, a maple, guards your house.
Who else it chooses to harbor as friends

is tree-business, is bug-business, has not yet
hatched into waves of galactic thrumming.
Your ears are only part of you: they will endure,
and what scares you stays too dark to name.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007