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.