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In A Vacant House

 Someone was calling someone; 
now they've stopped.
Beyond the glass the rose vines quiver as in a light wind, but there is none: I hear nothing.
The moments pass, or seem to pass, and the sun, risen above the old birch, steadies for the downward arch.
It is noon.
Privacy is one thing, but to be alone, to speak and not to be heard, to speak again the same word or another until one can no longer distinguish the presence of silence or what the silence is there for.
No one can begin anew naming by turn beast, fowl, and bush with the exact word.
Beyond the fence the sparse wood Yields; light enters; nighthawk, owl, and weasel have fled.
To know the complete absence of fear, not to fear what is not there becomes the end, the last brute quiver of instinct.
One moves, or tries to move, among facts, naming one's self and one's acts as if they were real.
Dead leaves cling to the branch, and the root grips to endure, but no cry questions the illusion of sky.

Poem by Philip Levine
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