Still: A poem

Illustration of melting clock
Caragh McErlean/File

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the calendar tells me

it has been two days

since i last woke up with the light.

 

the black-out curtains tell me

time is a construct

and only the light i perceive

can wake me.

 

the fan in the back of the room—

the one i keep on

for some white noise—

that fan says

something, too,

but i can’t hear it over its own

whirring blades.

 

when i walk out to the front yard

for the mail,

(the mailbox pole giving

against the soft crumbling soil)

the wind moves, the clouds change,

but all else is still.

 

i break the stillness

like eggshell on granite

to bring in

ads and scams and junk—

the type of mail not even

the end of the world can stop

from ending up on my countertop.

 

if i hold my breath and close

my eyes,

if i stop up my own

senses,

i can imagine all else stops,

as well.

 

the curtains and calendar and fan

protest this,

(they can see far out, at the churning cogs

of the rest of the world,

the black-out curtains especially)

but that’s what the white noise is for.

their complaints die quick deaths

even if they are right,

and all that’s left in the room to speak

is me.

 

i tell me:

only the light i perceive,

the sounds i understand,

the constructs i tolerate,

can move me.

 

i wish to be still.

why is it all still

moving?

 

Contact Sean Tseng at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @STWeekender24.

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