“Listening Through the Walls” by Bonnie Hamlin

Bonnie Hamlin


to the couple next door fighting,
like a voyeur peeking into pungent slices of life,
a scene grown tense, readied for drama,
reverberating with emotional temperature,

and I, a vagabond presence in their dark,
cast to share a seething intimate vignette,
to consider the ambiguities of human relationship,
to inventory the thousand tender wounds of intimacy,
to glean some promise in the midst of disaster.
I have something I want to share
to a pair of fools swapping noises in the night,
—Everything we truly care about is filled with emotion—

but the room cracks with buzz saw voice,
his words, like the teeth of a blade, rip to the quick.
I imagine her, a sapling, a trunk, the core of woman, naked.

Later that night I awaken from a dream,
where someone is cutting all the trees.
They seem to be more dead than alive
with their broken branches strewn over the ground.
A woman, a shadow, is trying to repair the trees
reattaching the branches with ribbons and thread.

from Rattle #21, Summer 2004

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