[36] Silence, Alan Cohen

High up on our balcony
Where noise and neon no longer impose
And the space-occupying ersatz rocks and ponds
Parking lots and casinos, already habitual
Fade into the foreground
Divulging dry bare hills
Buff, black, stony, grisaille
Nomadic sentinels of the desert

I close my eyes
And hazy polluted desert
Scabrous mirage of city
Both gone as morning
Can savor in retrospect
Our airy lunch in the high-ceilinged
Light-flooded restaurant
Revisit my dream
Speech, acclaim, demands upon my time, paperwork
Anita’s reunion dinner
Her onstage, singing to her classmates
Our garden, late summer roses, irises, red and purple sage

Inside, in the silence of myself
I roar with laughter
With the unmitigated glee of the fearless agent free of the world
I know Las Vegas is still out there
So’s the desert
But I will now no longer risk this
My physical self
In the acid bath of either
For more than minutes at a time
Will never return

We have had my fill of loss and peril
Vet now the world we share
Venture only when the odds are best
Prefer balcony, mind
Laughter, love, and silence

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