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House Of Silence

 The winter sun, golden and tired, 
settles on the irregular army 
of bottles.
Outside the trucks jostle toward the open road, outside it's Saturday afternoon, and young women in black pass by arm in arm.
This bar is the house of silence, and we drink to silence without raising our voices in the old way.
We drink to doors that don't open, to the four walls that dose their eyes, hands that run, fingers that count change, toes that add up to ten.
Suspended as we are between our business and our rest, we feel the sudden peace of wine and the agony of stale bread.
Columbus sailed from here 30 years ago and never wrote home.
On Saturdays like this the phone still rings for him.

by Philip Levine
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