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Sharing the Sea of Surround Sound

November 22, 2010

by Kristin Berkey-Abbott

The dishes crash and clatter
as her husband unloads
the dishwasher. The cereal sings,
the children bicker,
and her husband herds
the pets through the morning routine.

She sinks into the car
hoping for some solitude
during her solitary sojourn
to the office. Instead, noise surrounds
her: horns honk, brakes squeal,
and the thumping
bass beat never relents.

At the office, the secretary slams
file drawers while the supervisor shouts
into the speakerphone.
Two offices down, her colleague curses
at his computer. Students stomp
through the hallways, shouting
into their cellphones.

She closes her office door,
but she can still hear
the noise of working life,
like distant whalesong.
She thinks of those poor creatures
who once had the sea to themselves,
but now prefer to beach
themselves, rather than listen
to the noise of ships and Navy sonar.


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Kristin Berkey-Abbott earned a Ph.D. in British Literature from the University of South Carolina. Her poems have appeared in many journals, and Pudding House Publications published her first chapbook, Whistling Past the Graveyard, in 2004. Finishing Line Press will publish her second chapbook, I Stand Here Shredding Documents. She currently serves as Chair of the General Education department at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale. Her website, which has connections to the blogs that she keeps, is kristinberkey-abbott.com.

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