Monday, December 13, 2021

Little Spy in My Bedroom by Yusef Komunyakaa

Little Spy in My Bedroom

What’s that ticking sound
under the red velvet sofa,
breathing a little click-song
stolen from South Africa,
perched on a windowsill
or lost in a coffin drawer
singing a half-pint of good
luck, aping such big emotion?
Whatever it is, it materialized
up here on the second floor,
as if from my head—the silent
timekeeper’s rasping alarm.
I pace around the room, careful
not to trip on the tiger rug,
to search out the mechanical
night song of a small being.
What good can it bring now
in our highly evolved world
of climate change & hunting
death stars to give the names
of hermit kings & outlaws.
Love, have I always listened
with my whole damn body,
18k. tick of a pocket watch?
I rise, gazing into an inlaid box
of hex signs & cheap rings.
Now I hardly hear the faint
noise, yet know it is here.
I cover my eyes with my left
hand to hear the machine
pulse of a careless heart, &
in a patch of early-morning
sunlight I see a black cricket.
Someone kicks off her shoe
before I can think to say, No,
one of us must show mercy.

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