You say you needwhite noise to sleep.The aural equivalentof bitmapped TV fuzz.The whir of two fans on highsets you in a resin of restlike a suspended insect carcass.You hear prosthetic deafness,an air-embalmed silence.You hear ash.
In the heightened sensesof night blindness I recallI once learned ashwas carbon and carbonthe source of all life.
In your vacuum I hearthe loud sigh to mimica thousand voices at once. I hearthe rush of water through gapsand cuts in buttes and bluffs,rubbing soft the sharp edges of rock. I hearthe grind of tires on gravel fade intohotel clock radios between stations. I hearpre-dawn AM cattle futures amidst a wash of shh andthe click and hiss of a rotary dial phone. I hearthe morning farmhouse yard,a deafening friction of grain and grass.
On this side of the bed I hearthe purr of your breath abovethis electric wind and I amland cut off by a horseshoe lake,the bridge in Flynn’s field left behindwhen the creek moved.
In that darkness, that staccato hum,a comfort comes in knowingno such thing as static.Even in the muggy air of standing water,molecules move. [End Page 69]
Chris Harding Thornton is a seventh-generation Nebraskan who writes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. She holds a BFA in creative writing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, an MFA in fiction from the University of Washington, and a PhD in English from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, where she teaches literature and writing classes. She is currently drafting a book of poems, revising a creative nonfiction book, Road to Thacher, and finishing her first novel, Reclamation.