Monday, September 30, 2013

Listening Lessons

I was listening from the outside in
a closed door separating me from the sound
not eavesdropping, the sort of listening you do
when there is nothing you can do but listen
the howling, high pitched, hysterical laughter
the contagious, giddy, over the top let loose
and I waxed poetic in my head about what
she could possibly be finding so hilarious
and I was contemplating going inside
to let her know that she had made my day
that her joy was infectious and terminal
and then he stumbled out the door
clutching his sides through his dirty t-shirt
and he continued to howl with laughter
as he sifted through his shopping cart
filled with cardboard boxes and belongings
before peppering me with a series
of nonsensical questions before sitting down
in a chair next to me and sobbing
before the police showed up and he was kind
enough to issue me a conspiratorial warning
before he picked up a menu and pretended
to be reading, pretended to be busy
until they left with their coffee and the laughter
started up again before the questions before
the fit of coughing before more tears
and I was left to wonder to myself
what it means to really listen to someone
when there is so much you can't see

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