I’ve learned the sound of nestlings being fed, their mad chirping now clear in the oak trees I walk beneath. House sparrows. There are languages I didn’t know I wanted to know. I’ve learned the sound of jets over Oakland for fleet week. Something about a nest. Something about a tree scared bald so all its empty nests are exposed. Something about my neural pathways like that. Like, I’ve decided, is the cruelest word. To step out of my door and hope to see something like a life, something passably me. Like the caged canaries baba put out to sun in his Shiraz courtyard and who dropped dead, falling onto shit-covered newsprint with a thud when a cat slinked by. Researchers sent me into the MRI and said Imagine these things: home, mother, child and nothing lit on their screens. O, I asked for the smallest happiness today, a pool of water in an Oakland pothole, a single likeness to see—feathers lifting, then shaking free. Then something like a cat I became to frighten dead any hopeful thing. Some days, I am almost happy. To lose even the loss. Some days: pity this pard. Just to think of washing some dishes—mismatched and in a rust-stained sink—touching things I have spent my whole life touching—


Artwork derivative of i had twentyfive empty thoughts © David Hart, 2005