Talia Bloch Placing the onion in the pan, she can hear it from the apartment below as she does most evenings: three, four loud staccato knocks that reverberate up into her kitchen. She imagines the young mother, home from work now and in jeans, standing by the stove, rapping a wooden spoon against a pot rim, knocking oâ the last bits of soup or sauce before beginning to stir again, as her boy sits nearby coloring the sky in his coloring book. This is also how we keep each other company. The machinery of us ringing through the ï¬oors and walls to brush up against the stillness of others. Our clamor ï¬nding its true contours from those who overhear. Footsteps climbing in the stairwell then the click shut of a lock, water rushing through the pipes as someone turns the taps, a muÎed admonishment from across a wall, a peal of laughter. Our lives are made more visible by the soft edges of the silence of those around. The way that when she lived back on twenty-third street voices would ï¬oat up from the sidewalk below on summer nights and settle into the folds of her sofa, as she sat following the end of an evening: a scrape of soles, car doors closing, a motor starting. Or how now, with the apartments around growing dark, one by one, she thinks of the boy and his mother downstairs as she turns oâ the lights and shuts her bedroom door with a soft thud.
Prairie Schooner – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Aug 9, 2017
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