A Change of Wind

On the eighth day he coined the word “alone”
and saw that it was as good as everything else.
A yellow school bus rattled down the lane,
a wind blew in a drainpipe, strong, mellifluous.

I brought two empty crates to the parking lot,
watched neighbors with briefcases and car keys.
At noon a mailman passed by where I sat
invisible, like a tree among trees.

Why, why, I asked. I wanted to know why,
but only scared a squirrel that dropped his acorn
when my voice broke silence unexpectedly—
a white noise in a wireless telephone.

My club soda went flat in the bottle. With a spit
of rain, a wind blew again from the lake.
I raised my index finger and touched it,
pleading, give me a break, give me a break.

Katia Kapovich, "A Change of Wind" from Cossacks and Bandits. Copyright © 2007 by Katia Kapovich.  Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.
Source: Cossacks and Bandits (Salt Publishing, 2007)
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