On the other side of quiet
when I am all alone
and the very last echoes of human conversation
clatter into meaningless noise
and make their absence felt
by unbroken stillness;
it is then that my heart begins to race
because it is then that they will come.
The drip of the kitchen faucet
the on and off of the old radiator
the train whistle in the distance
the sonorous tones of the harbor horns
the whoosh of a passing automobile through a puddle...
they speak to me in their own voices
sibilant or strident
hissing or hooting
or whispering -- which is by far the very worst --
they tell me
each in its own critical, judgmental tone
that I cannot be sane if I think that they are alive;
why do they tell me this?
Why do I need to tell you this when there is a great chance
that you don't really exist, either?
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