For a Friend After a Long Absence


A telephone ringing after the ambulance has gone. Years later I awaken. Silence is
with me and we have much to discuss, a silence defined by the desire to muffle the
scream that hasn’t been heard.
I speak only to those who listen to the river. Each understands I am not alone. It
feels like sunlight forgotten in an empty room, like dust still falling hours after the last
truck has passed. I live in these things with the light’s meaning erased.
I must negotiate rain with the angel of the new order of the sun. I salute the nearest
tree. I salute all obstacles. I have given my name back to the dust. I have taken steps to
prevent returning. I have broken my mask and found a scenic landscape with the voice of
a snail, my body rising with its shell.
The rain merely passes. I am searching for something empty that will stay,
something as reliably indifferent as the steady drip of a dead man’s faucet.

A cold cup of coffee on the marble staircase. If it were not there, I would have
imagined it.

You might have been reasonable for years, but everything turns and suddenly you
feel, without being able to explain it, that something so small you won’t even think of it
until it arrives is the most important thing you could know.

I was afraid to live there, that I might share with you this feeling or any other. I was
afraid of the night between.

I spoke and it came out so wonderfully wrong. I was not sure that it came out at all.
I could have imagined it.
The telephone still ringing after the gift has been opened.

Rich Ives is the author of Tunneling to the Moon: A Psychological Gardener’s Book of Days currently being published in serial @ Silenced Press everyday in 2014 and forthcoming in paperback. Begin from the beginning, catch up, read daily. Just refer to the Burrow Guide.