Sweeping Away

I’m a middle-age man who locks himself
in a double-brick house. I’m told it was built by
an illiterate farmer for his bride 120 years ago.
I can write no longer. My body admits this,
as if it feels the ache of field-work
and the freshness of dirt,
though it lacks the beauty for that,
and it deceives, for where muteness is,
mine, it is mistaken for the practice of presence,
weeping for the practice of prayer.
Before I changed these lines, I wrote, there is
no music. But my own silence mistook me.
There is, of course, music. For instance,
in the craving for sleep and just out the drafty door,
Spring, where it grows only more winter, and
in questions such as, is the past a more beautiful future
in someone’s hands? I hear my footsteps whisp across
the linseed-oiled floors as I wander rooms, one
to the next, sweeping question marks across the thin
foolscap lines of oak, until halting, nearly hearing
the slight piano melody shallowly lapping
the bottom of her feet, two small birds whirling,
and a man dancing with a long broken wing,
humming all that he can hum, eyes on the dust,
like notes.

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