White Noise

A small machine plays ocean sounds
between her ears and the bedroom door
muffling the moving world while she sleeps
toothbrush motors, toilet flush, cat scratching at the door.

He makes me laugh, I do not cover my mouth
my head is back and laughter trumpets out of me.
The sound of trains is close, but not as close to her
as the ocean.

The neighbor’s dog alerts us to the presence of deer in our yard
timidly eating tulips, hesitating at every distant noise,
considering their safety, never completely convinced
danger is imminent.

Just beyond the reach of ocean sounds
we unpack long-stored conversations.
I ask him if he remembers the first time
I told him I love him, if he knows what it feels like to love

someone who hasn’t decided if they feel the same.
If I cry, I carry it quietly in my voice, two tears
escape and trail into temple hair.
In the next room, the tide is coming in.

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