Awoken again by the neighbor’s child screaming

Leah Falk
August 29, 2018
Hugo Alexandre Cruz via Unsplash

Awoken again by the neighbor’s child screaming,
I wait for the sound
of someone’s comfort,
hair brushing his cheek,
absorbing his still

cloudless smell,
hands cupping his neck
and narrow waist
to show him how well
he already fits

in the world, unlike
the prolific tomato
taking over the patio,
or the repetitive
moon, which both

strain until they reach
some promised finish.
When no one comes,
he and I keep vigil
in the treeless night,

sharing a wall he builds
with his voice, all
eighty-eight keys.
A theme song that begs
for routine: sneakers off,

sweater on. For someone
to sit on the steps
and laugh and smoke,
for someone to wake him
with water. Like a band’s

biggest fan, I mouth
all the words, let him deafen me
with his song that insists
go on. Between us, cells arrange
their future, spin light into sugar.

Leah Falk’s poems and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, FIELD, Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She directs programming at the Writers House at Rutgers University-Camden