everywhere the noise follows;

ocean-hush, onrush waves speaking

the tide out over the sandbars, small

birds rustling night-thick tree branches,

cars sluicing road-cracks star-deep

in black water-

it's a comfort now; at night from the

window corner the traffic light keeps

its pattern rigid, the sound and quiet of

going someplace its own warming pulse,

unconscious beat in arterial necessity-

but better routine. better a crutch of knowledge.

not long ago it was the unexpected that

settled, stretched itself a funny paradox;

the kids who played with shrapnel and

laughed when it burned their hands, kicking

around a soccer ball made of paper and

poor canvas scraps; he always had gum in

his pocket. never the same flavor. couldn't get it.

no traffic lights, no ocean. he drove his

jeep into a ring of fire once, the radio flickering,

even a half of a song too much for consistency.

he flew home at night and when he woke up,

the hours had gone backwards, still so much

darkness left and time enough to collapse it.

he walks down by the sea when he can't sleep

and the hiss of it foaming up the wettened sand,

the clams breathing out of small buried places,

the plovers piping delicate wisps of sound as they

trawl the spray. this circadian paradise.

the seasons change on time.

at three-fifteen in the morning, day not

dawned, morning intent in chrysalis,

stasis, and the rhythm of circumference

a promise of rotation- he rattles change in

his pocket and buys a cup of coffee-

twenty-four hours.

this light never turns off.