The tuba wakes before the man. It’s a content animal:
having no word, for the moment, suits it fine.
It looks at him with a dun and smooth
interiority, as a glass of rum might,
or a worn number on an apartment building:
his hands, crossed on the chest, rise and fall with breathing.
In the dream, he’s ringing the bell now; climbing,
unlocking the door, peering into a glass.
The flat is empty. Is the war over yet? Or
was he here before the war? Soon, dropping salt levels
will wake him—
in tears, with an odd groove in his palm, as though
he’d held on to an instrument for hours.
For a good minute, he’ll be nameless, and when
a name does come, it won’t be his:
humming in thought the bright last name
he rang on the doorbell, he’ll see, in a certain
abrupt sunlight: he’d chosen
to be able to call everything something.