The Names of Natural Disasters

Reading a book about a distant place,
I have lost all words to describe this room.
The typhoon has left, lonely stirring
of the sea that it is. When will he learn
his loneliness is so much trouble?
It is this give and take of waves
and of clouds that pulls most
at the heart of me
and I am reading to forget.
And so every page I turn, a century
of human existence returns
to its place in history.
Let me tell you a secret: Once, I wrote
a message on yellowing paper
and rolled it into a clear bottle
and pitched it to sea. The waves came
and went, and came and went again.
As if they were discussing if my secrets
were worthy of being lost in them.
When they gave it back, I took a last whiff
of the pacific winter breeze and drove home
and in my room, found a novel about a man
in a New York diner waiting for news
of anything in the 1940’s. I snuck words
into its chapters. Lovers parted. A parent died.
And I was hiding grief between the alleys
of the city and finding them again
in my sleep. I spoke them over and over
and tucked them in smaller and smaller
imaginary cities, but the past
kept telling me to keep it company
until there were days with only silence,
and today is one such day,
when the only conversation I will have
is when I tell the weather I am thinking again
of distance.

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