Ears to the sphinx, we wait, the net left openfor parents talking low through music downstairs at night,lawnmowers shaking our arms, coughing out the summer,and doctors checking our rasping winter lungs,reminding us to breathe. The ocean can sound like static,like wind can, the dry leaf sound of forests going bare, emptinessfilled with this cataract sound of rain and waterfallshere in the desert, radios amplifying the splitting particles.This voiceless exhale of a world in reduction is what we heareven when there is no conversation, no forces at work but entropydisguised in the buzz of insects. We have agreed to these terms,to tear ourselves apart with sound immense enough to open the earthand here, in the explosions, our disappearance begins. There is a separate speechin war. We repeat ourselves, deaf, our teeth showing, biting at the air. Say againyour last. Nothing but fragments yelled away, dust in every breath. [End Page 61]
Benjamin Busch served sixteen years as an infantry and light armored reconnaissance officer in the US Marine Corps, deploying to Iraq in 2003 and 2005. He is the author of Dust to Dust (Ecco), and his work has appeared in Harper’s, New York Times Magazine, North American Review, and npr’s All Things Considered.