by Gonzalinho da Costa

I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own. —Chaim Potok, The Chosen

Two o’clock in the morning.

How silent is the room…

Just before a motorcycle roars,
Chopping the air into jagged chips of din
Thrown round and round a flywheel,
Spiraling into the orifice of the outer ear,
Noisy swirling water inside a gurgling drain,
Bowling ball rolling heavily down wooden planks…

Then it fades…
Sawdust bursting in air,
Settling, a fine layer of manna,
Powdery film on the workshop floor.

You cannot hear anything again.

Silence is thick bread—
It lies on a plate and makes a crusty whisper
Only if perturbed by buttering.

Solid door of heavy beams tightly riveted by iron knobs,
Slammed shut and bolted,
Sealed even in its tiniest crevices,
Stands guard at the portal to the strange habitation of another world.


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