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Her

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There is no noisier place than the suburbs,
someone once said to me
as we were walking along a fairway,
and every day is delighted 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.

Source: Poetry (November 2008)

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

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Her

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