Zone by Zone

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.

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