What do you hear, Mary Camille?
On this first morning of the Labor Day weekend
I hear the roll of tires on asphalt
even through my double-paned windows.
I hear the mourning dove’s coo,
here I am, and where are you?
I hear the rumble of the espresso machine
like a locomotive grinding up a mountain grade
and the hiss of the frother,
spoon clinking against cup.
I hear the thump of squirrel paws
landing on the roof
and a rustling of privet leaves
on the limb he just leapt from.
I hear the silence
in a city without electricity,
the gurgle of receding floodwaters,
the last, labored rasp of the old woman
in the convalescent home.
I hear the clap and roar
of the departing helicopter,
the moans of those left behind,
barely make out the whisper
of a knife pulled from its sheath.
I hear the startled cry of the child
when another aftershock shakes her world,
the creak and clatter of shifting rubble,
the crinkle of plastic
as an empty water bottle is crunched
and tossed on a pile of trash.
I hear the crackle of wildfire
and roaring wind the fire itself creates,
the pop of exploding pinecones,
stamp of boots on earth,
I hear the clackety clack
of the Giant Dipper gripping the track,
the cries of thrilled delight
when it crests the hill
and races gravity down.
I hear cheerful old tunes
on the antique organ
urging Looff’s painted ponies on
in their eternal loop,
the clatter of metal rings
tossed towards the clown’s gaping mouth.
I hear gulls and waves breaking,
sand lapping seawater,
the ocean’s own merry-go-round.
I hear the surf
like the heartbeat of the earth
I hear the surf.
Inspired by the poet’s question to himself, “What do you hear Walt Whitman?” in his poem “Salut au Monde!”