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The Sleepy Beauties of Sound

Jane Wayne

          ….the terra-incognita blanks map-makers of old used to call ‘sleepy beauties’.
          —Vladimir Nabakov, Speak, Memory

Not much practice yet           
at blurs, garbles, 
dropped syllables— unless you count 
          the losses on a poor 
phone connection or when someone
turns the music down.

The next season though
could slam a door
and I might not look up 
from a book.  I’d be motionless,
riding the kind of current
no one else would notice, a quiet, 
fuller than any noise. 

For now it’s guesswork: a territory 
full of unmapped regions,
where paths revert to weeds, 
and one only advances 
by descent—so many steps
from the imagined to the lived. 
 And no rush to get there—

I’ve already caught myself
resisting under my breath, 
not this, not that
not sparrows rioting in the Euonymus 
or the clatter of dishes in the sink, 
not even the soft grinding
as I wind my watch.