Obtuse Silence

John Mecca




Silence contemplates me rudely,
invading my space and never taking its eyes away
for a moment.

The tall shadows of the foothills sneak inches onto their height
every few minutes, nibbling. Only little bites,
so the day won't quite yet know its time has come.

The absence of her laugh says volumes about my mood;
there should be a storm to coincide, but
nature remains obstinate.

Below me, down the bumpy paved slope that carries a car to the trailhead,
rests a neighborhood. Semi-similar
family match-boxes, ordered according to plans 
they never knew existed.

My smoke infects their air, their homes, their lungs
in small, ephemeral ropes. They don’t know I'm here, I 
don’t know their names
or their kids.

Far enough away it’s a barrier, lies Reno, little Vegas,
and the lakeshore apartment, with the bed
you lie in with him.

The cigarette smoke stops accusingly, waiting. The wind
holding its breath for the same thing. 

But I won’t say it; all three of us know and so does the Silence
since it keeps staring.

So I smoke, and I think too much, and
sulfurous families strike up 
dinner conversation,
blocks below me
while I'm waiting.

And I think too much.

And I smoke.

In the meantime, Silence,
stays its course until I’ve taken enough, 
I turn the key and head home,
the sounds of the radio divorcing us until a lack of absence,
becomes more ephemeral than smoke,
and less obtuse than Silence.