like the nets of my music

knowing that like rocks

by the ocean

you will eventually be eroded

by the force of nature

when she's talking

or you're listening

for some sign that

they're still with you

let sound roll over you

appreciate it for what it is

don't make it more than that

without silence

you wouldn't understand

when she's talking

you wouldn't understand

no one would
He holds her like a mast in a hurricane: false comfort, he supposes, but she is the most stable thing in the tumultuos sea of that bed.

Strains of Mingus are audible from down the hall, their door propped open by a stuck deadbolt that maintenance had promised to fix, well, it seems like months ago. And the tires squealing and the cars honking and the people chattering and the children playing and the hydrants gushing and the refridgerator clicking off and the dogs barking and the cockroaches marching all filter in through different parts of a world that seem to be just outside the Great Wall of China for all he knows or cares.

Someone downstairs is drumming. Someone down the hall is watching a John Wayne movie on an old black-and-white with the volume knob broken off even before they bought it at the Salvation Army store and they could still turn it on and off with a coat hanger, but making it any more or less loud is just impossible. Above him, lovemaking, bed springs, cries of joy and pain meeting in the ceiling. Below him, domestic dispute, she is wrong, he is wrong, and who said what to who?

And then she says a funny thing: "If you press your ear to the wrist of the world you can hear every heartbeat from the beginning of time." Such a strange thing to say. He gazes at the ceiling, plaster flakes off and lands on the sheet, in front of his nose. The Mingus record switches, now it's Bobby Darin and he finds himself wondering about people and lives and buildings and moods and philosophies across the sea.

His mast shifts, dumps him into the sea, and looks at him softly. "I have to go to work," it says. He replies with a sniff, the sum result of aching eyes, a sandpaper throat, ages of nausea.

She kisses him on the forehead. "Relax. Just let the sound roll over you."

On the way out, she turns the stereo knob up. Static in full stereo consumes him, lulls him into successfully escaping sickness' sorrows once again.

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