How the Whole of it Sounds

Suppose you could clear every scrape
from your ear, just to hear
how the whole of it sounds. How
purely scrolled within what
and why, wholly for its own audition.
Now suppose breath, held. The
ache of total absence. The saying
that you feel, the hearing that you are—
the push of every prayer, twitch
of every lash, each cell’s creak, every star.

But say your ear won’t forget, strains
the real with its hush. Tongues
of doors begin to cluck, “cheat”
“bluff” “trickster” and in the dog’s long
sighs “fool” “why” twixt tryst and whisper.
You wait at the brink of sleep, listen
to darkness lapping. It sounds
like everything praying, or laughing: How does
the whole of it sound? the answer
arcs like a question—scintillation

in the inky air.