A distant quarry truck’s reverse beeper has gone bad, and trills just like a digital alarm clock. Dueling chickadees tumble through the air.


  1. Sentence

    My own, I am I know my hardest
    and my most exacting prisoner,
    most watchful sentinel braced

    wakeful against the threshold–
    And so sometimes I much prefer
    the randomness of sound unpinned

    from any explanation– the beeper
    of a quarry truck trilling distant
    like a digital alarm, the vowels

    spelled by dueling chickadees
    in the air. Even the ragged fringe
    along a line of trees reverses

    the abrupt shear where ridge
    meets rain-filled sky into
    a kind of noise.

    ~ Luisa A. Igloria
    01 26 2011

    (After Luisa’s)

    It is the retrieval of the limp bodies now piled
    six-deep from the quarry’s downhill rampage
    that assails even the prayerful dirges sounding
    more like a pounding charivari, clangour of
    spades against rock clashing with diggers’ calls

    for gargling gasps of the dying and shushing
    threats to yelping dogs and barking policemen
    to plead for silence, a doleful quietude of hope
    for hands to cut through the rubble, for faces
    really, spitting clay and fighting through debris,

    but the strangeness of a startling quarry truck
    reverse beeper gone bad does the quelling work
    instead like stifling a waking-up snore through
    the trill of an alarm clock that’s advertised as
    able to rouse even the dead; then stone silence

    breaks through but instantly ruptured by the trill
    of sparrows lining the pell-mell polewires;
    the thud of the quarry truck’s spade startles
    a duelling pair that tumbles through torn thicket,
    the trilling sounds continue while a weary sun

    sets signalling the perching hour of sparrows
    absently chirping a cacophony of evening songs
    as they have done before and yet to do
    though hillsides crumble, or heavens weep,
    or quarry truck reverse beepers beep crazily, too.

    Mississauga, 1-26-11

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