We imagine loneliness in the same way we imagine

death, and twice we are wrong. It is not the last flicker

going out, but the wrap of risen wind on charred wood

in the dark. Not the abandoned copper mine with

broken windows at dawn, but the boy taking a bronze

plumbing pipe to the river. Not the dog’s velvet belly,

burst open and spilling wet maggots on the train

tracks, but the tiny pliable femur bone of a mouse

found inside there. We say I feel so alone and we mean

we don’t know how to communicate. We say The dog

is dead and we mean we aren’t listening anymore.

In the growing light the boy carries his pipe to the river.

He packs it with stolen tobacco. He hides between boulders.

He has no filter, no friend meeting him. He lights it

and sucks and his own wind wraps what is inside there.