You know the satisfying sound
a gear engaging makes,
one from the workshop of a master engineer?
It is the sound made by the house from
midnight on, the sigh
of one responding to my change of mood, achieving
something like a flawless ratio
my current needs and its reserves of power.
You know the crack and flap
a sheet makes on a line on gusty days?
It is the sound the house will use to scare
away intruders in the night,
those souls who wander in from dreams
to trespass in our world.
If they are threat, the house will see them off.
On still days, when the sheet hangs soundlessly,
the house will not disturb our dreams.
You know the sounds a dog makes
shaking water from its fur -
even to the sigh it makes
when it feels dry again?
Those are the sounds the house emits
when shaking off the troubles of the day,
unwinding itself loosely into night.
As on a tide that's ever turning,
it rocks us from our cares into the deep.
You know the sound of distant voices,
their rhythms unmistakable,
the words so incoherent
that you can't be sure?
From somewhere in the house those self-same voices
drift in and out of hearing in the night.
Then nights ago it struck me: This is song,
like bird song marking boundaries between
the house and not-house, wakefulness and sleep.
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