Olivia Hajioff

The Sounds Before The Sounds I Knew Before

Everyone says it’s quieter now, but there are more sounds:
Not the bird’s song, but the first lift of its wing.
Not a rustling of leaves, but the flip flop as one leaf turns over, back and forth.
The intake of breath before the shout of a child.

When I stand still, I hear the grass tap against its fellow
When I walk, I hear my foot raise, peeling away from the soft pine needles.
The sounds before the sounds I knew before.

I should wear a softer jacket.
I have to hold my arms rigid by my sides to stop the shiny rubbing that mutes all else.
Otherwise I won’t know what I can hear and what I cannot.

The listening itself is a reaching out. A stretching.

Only the trees hold their secret quietness.
I go close to them and find a cool darkness
Made of sounds I have yet to hear.

Olivia was the Grand Choice Winner of our non-local competition. Her poem is featured in our first official book publication, In the Quarantined Room: Reflections on the COVID-19 Experience in Indian River County, FL 2020. To find out more about the book and to purchase a copy, click here.

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