Inside The Houses
Maybe there are trumpets in the houses we pass
– William Stafford
Maybe that kid who bloodied his head
on the playground sewer pipe – pipe painted yellow,
cement pipe we could stand in & some
could heave themselves up on
to imagine themselves bigger than they are—
maybe he saved his sister from a fire, or the wrong guy,
or wears a tuxedo to some awards show.
Maybe the black song flutes our parents bought
for music class were the beginnings of salvation,
even survival, for the child who heard only the grind of silence
in her home, or feared someone’s boots by the door.
Maybe the heat is turned up too high
and someone gets up in the middle of the night
to turn it down.
Maybe there is a cat that wakes a boy
5:00 AM every morning, and the father Fred Flintstone’s
the feline out the door. Maybe that kind of protection
is the same as in the house where flags are
plastered on the walls.
Maybe some absences are beautiful.
Maybe there is flute song inside the houses we pass,
background for the words that might come later
to save us.