Background Noise

by Lisa J. Ampleman

Oh my light sleeper, if you stir,
if voices from the sidewalk

filter through the window,
if a siren rages down the street

and sends its flickering lights
across the room, will you startle

like those birds that distracted me
in grade school Mass,

caught in the nave, soaring and
swooping in blue and red stained

early morning light, while we
paid attention, or not,

to the homily. If not the flurry of a bird,
then the bark of airline pilots

in a holding pattern over North County
could call our attention from the altar

and the mosaic of a lamb
to their traveling conversations

because of their radios tuned to the frequency
of the church’s speakers.

So, just now, as you turn over
and we both know the other is awake,

will we stay silent and let the burr
of the mosquito truck fill up the room

or shift slightly so that our warm
backs touch again?

Lisa Ampleman is the author of the chapbook I’ve Been Collecting This to Tell You, winner of the 2010 Wick Poetry Center chapbook competition. Recent work appears in New South; New Ohio Review; South Dakota Review; Lake Effect; Forklift, Ohio; Natural Bridge; and Santa Clara Review. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Cincinnati and winner of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg poetry prize.

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