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None Shall Sleep


ISSUE:  Fall 2008

The pang and clangor of pitch-dense wood
in the stove and the odd, almost syncopated
pops of studs, joists, and rafters as they warm;

coyote howls and the hard wind that brings
and takes them away; the chuffs and slumps
as snow pods slip from limbs and thunder

onto the roof; the hourly scrape as three feet
of accumulation up there sloughs gradually loose—
it will give way all at once when it is forgotten;

the nervousness of prey in the vanished silence
of the night. Though when the pitch is gone
and the fire goes quiet as a candle; when

walls and floor and ceiling stand and stretch
to their extent; when the coyotes move off
to hunt and the wind subsides, and the falling

snow resumes its vertical imperative; when
the trees take up their noble stillnesses
and the roof’s heavy snow load rests

on the ground; when the deer and elk can hear
again each needle sway and cold twig subsidence.
What is the name of a silence that deep?

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