On a Clear Day

How quiet is Hell—how it unnerves you. 

     Usually, panic throttles you 
awake but today you wake up feeling.  

          You do not expect gentleness—you expect birds

beating themselves blind against windows, 
     no mouths. Driven mad sex or sex

or Xanax, or love he tells you there is worth 
in not feeling normal all the time. 

Everything is yours for a while. Today 
the neighbors are good neighbors. 

Hell on a quiet day

is still Hell.
What is there left to fear? 

You are prepared     for the end of restfulness:

birds waiting on the down power lines, 
          birds on blown out chimneys, silent 

opera of canaries—the birds always know first—

birds everywhere, 

birds everywhere now.
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