There is no nosier place than the suburbs,

someone once said to me

as we were walking along a fairway,

and every day is pleased to offer fresh evidence:


the chainsaw, the leaf-blower blowing

one leaf around an enormous house with columns,

on Mondays and Thursdays the garbage truck

equipped with air brakes, reverse beeper, and merciless grinder.


There’s dogs, hammers, backhoes,

or serious earthmovers if today is not your day.

How can the birds get a peep

or a chirp in edgewise, I would like to know?


But this morning is different,

only a soft clicking sound

and the low talk of two workmen working

on the house next door, laying tile I am guessing.


Otherwise, all quiet for a change,

just the clicking of tiles being handled

and their talking back and forth in Spanish,

then one of them asking in English


“What was her name?” and the silence of the other. – Billy Collins, Horoscopes for the Dead


art: Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg


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