One Breath Then the Next

What is it that floods the silence
before sound, preceding the body
before it walks into a room?

It is a pail that lifts from the well
toward the one that pulls, hand over
hand, on the rope; it is a thirst

for something cold and sweet. But what
does the throat even know of itself and its
thirst before the first blind sip of water?

What is the object of longing, that
for which we feel we'd give up all, or perish?
The empty bowl and the spoon that scrapes

along its bottom, the mailbox yawning in
the sun. When tree-trimmers arrive, a squirrel
lopes across the street in a frenzy, carrying

a furry bundle in her mouth. When evening comes,
sometimes it is an exhalation and you didn't
realize how long you were holding it in.

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