Shower window watching
fall. Making steam
through a crack. Is there a single
word for such complicated
language comes to the child: how, gallop gallop.
At one a.m. she wakes for day. She hears the bells and tries to know their message. These bells say
sleep? For her time is a signal for behavior. The bells just mark. We read them for her, like we would
in the fields if we were working. One long now, and one short. Two short and then three. Two long.
They will say everyone gather around your various tables. In this place of concentrated association,
time is coded for prescribed communal use. Now eat. Now rest. And when the sun has set walk slowly
up and down the roads of winding houses. Walk to where the lights stop and the darkness is
sudden. A dog across the hills sounds close, another, farther, calls more menacingly back.
Upon returning from the journey we are all more tired
than we were before. Tireder. Est. Sum. The child interrupts
her accustomed rhythms to loll about the bed. In addition
we bring new acuity to the assessment of our objects. It is
true, for example, we boast no murals or painted tile floors.
Though the dust that coats us is surely less apocalyptic. But this
assignation of objects is a pastime of toddlers. Instead
of learning the new language she makes nonsensical,
musical, sounds. What is is, in
deed. And whose.
STEFANIA HEIM is author of A Table That Goes On for Miles (Switchback 2014). She teaches at Duke University and is a Poetry Editor at Boston Review.