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Now you hear what the house has to say.

Pipes clanking, water running in the dark,

the mortgaged walls shifting in discomfort,

and voices mounting in an endless drone

of small complaints like the sounds of a family

that year by year you've learned how to ignore.


But now you must listen to the things you own,

all that you've worked for these past years,

the murmur of property, of things in disrepair,

the moving parts about to come undone,

and twisting in the sheets remember all

the faces you could not bring yourself to love.


How many voices have escaped you until now,

the venting furnace, the floorboards underfoot,

the steady accusations of the clock

numbering the minutes no one will mark.

The terrible clarity this moment brings,

the useless insight, the unbroken dark.


                                           Dana Gioia



From Daily Horoscope, Graywolf Press,

1986. Reprinted by permission of the author.

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