There is a man who travels around the world trying to find places where you can stand still and hear no human sound. It is impossible to feel calm in cities, he believes, because we so rarely hear birdsong there. Our ears evolved to be our warning systems. We are on high alert in places where no birds sing. To live in a city is to be forever flinching.
Her ribs were in flames
as she spilled out the contents
of her torso: her flesh, a lungful
of smog, a wrench, a sparrow,
a swallow of doubt that hardly
stayed down, and down
beneath everything, a heart
too tired to be.