- How We Keep Each Other Company
Placing the onion in the pan, she can hear itfrom the apartment below as she does most evenings:three, four loud staccato knocks that reverberateup into her kitchen. She imagines the young mother,home from work now and in jeans, standing by the stove,rapping a wooden spoon against a pot rim, knocking offthe last bits of soup or sauce before beginning to stir again,as her boy sits nearby coloring the sky in his coloring book.This is also how we keep each other company. The machineryof us ringing through the floors and walls to brush up againstthe stillness of others. Our clamor finding its true contoursfrom those who overhear. Footsteps climbing in the stairwellthen the click shut of a lock, water rushing through the pipesas someone turns the taps, a muffled admonishmentfrom across a wall, a peal of laughter. Our lives are mademore visible by the soft edges of the silence of those around.The way that when she lived back on twenty-third street voiceswould float up from the sidewalk below on summer nightsand settle into the folds of her sofa, as she sat following the endof an evening: a scrape of soles, car doors closing, a motor starting.Or how now, with the apartments around growing dark, oneby one, she thinks of the boy and his mother downstairsas she turns off the lights and shuts her bedroom door with a soft thud. [End Page 157]
Talia Bloch ’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in the Antioch Review, Copper Nickel, Poetry International, the Southern Review, and elsewhere. She has received an Editors’ Prize for Emerging Poets from Pleiades and was a finalist for the Tupelo Quarterly TQ9 Poetry Prize. Her essays and feature stories have appeared in the Brooklyn Rail, the Forward, and Tablet Magazine, among others.