How do we still the stillness,
making it less than a soft whisper of sleep?
One more day no one can take problems anymore,
and look at how badly it turned out
as the sun sighed, going out
behind the black-purple night sky background.
How can we make it any more quiet
than when the sun is a red flood
disappearing under the weight of the setting
and the pushing down of night?
The large orange harvest moon
sits on the horizon
like it was a hard wooden park bench.
It is so close we can see the pockmarks
from eons of smashing asteroids,
and we do not know what to say —
how do we get more silence, less
talking, less accidental noises
than that? Less than an oar
not moving in water, not dripping
when lifted, not tipping into the row boat
as it is tied onto a pier, and not
the soundlessness of the wooden dock —
how do we get less noise than that?
Even the moth flaming after touching fire
makes a subtle noise. Or the cat, padding
on a thick rug, clawing and sharpening its nails,
arching before circling into sleep,
makes a curious noise, one that troubles
the quiet. No matter how softly we proceed,
noise follows us, makes sure we know it’s there.
Martin Willitts Jr has 20 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, “The Wire Fence Holding Back the World” (Flowstone Press, 2017) plus 11 full-length collections including forthcoming full-lengths includes “The Uncertain Lover” (Dos Madres Press, 2018), and “Home Coming Celebration” (FutureCycle Press, 2018).