Zone by Zone
If noise could be experienced
as a form of light, daylight
no longer arrived as hard fact—
more like a window already open
that opened wider, allowing yesterday’s
precipitous clutter to flood back into our world.
The lights on coffeepots blinked on, small eyes,
as each of our days arranged itself into blocks
of sound: fluorescent skin, ambient pallor,
overloaded screens and frozen phones, bells
and buzz demanding immediate assistance.
Respite, now and then, when the new leaf
on a begonia cutting unfolded visibly
in a cubicle window; or the colors in a partial
rainbow, almost imagined, grew
more intense as we moved through
new angles of light. Real silence
would not have rippled very far, small
pebble, as each of us, temporarily alone as we
drove home from work, navigated by way
of the “seek” button, replacing static with measured
voices, good diction, controlled renditions of
uncontrolled weather patterns, currencies, civilian
body counts, politicians frozen into stalemate….
Thus did the usual first chords of National Public
five o’clock news, following the sun, deliver
each of us zone by zone into the illusion
of repose—a familiar arrangement of switches
and lamps, the promise of spirits
on ice—marking the boundary between
the tiny country of our days
and the tinier country of our evenings.