Deaf Night at O'Donnell's

By Art Nahill Art Nahill
I happen in
from another unremarkable
Tuesday in the realm
of gratuitous sound, but here,
I can hear again
the quiet voices of the ontological,
the clink of ice cubes
in uplifted glasses,
the scrape of chairs,
the mournful lowing of floorboards,
the long history of blood
retold in my ears.

I scuffle to the bar, thoughts
by my suddenly thunderous
presence in this world,
and the silence flowing
from the neon jukebox,
the silence going down
smooth as the shot
of loneliness that would
naturally follow
a Billie Holiday song
if one were playing—

—while everywhere hands
are fluttering like sheets
in winds of gossip,
hollering above last call
for one more round.

Source: Poetry (August 2000).

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Eating & Drinking, Activities

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