Dave, Instead of a Shell, Hold These to Your Ear


How about the child,
drained and sleepy
or the photograph of
your ex-lover
peering from the dresser.

Why not your mother,
her body thin and wasted
from the sickness,
her voice no better than a rasp.

Or the souvenirs
on your mantle,
cold, passionless memories of places.

Why not the pay-stubs from old jobs,
the butts of cigarettes
still under beds, behind sofas,
from the time you were a smoker,
or the letters, yellow, crinkling,
and the clothes that used to fit.

Maybe all the bloody things
that have ever happened to you,
that are now just scars,
that are now just symbols.

Why waste your time
with a shell against your ear,
pretending you can hear the ocean.

Hold up everything
now emptied of you,
listen to the vastness.  
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