Summer/Fall 1999 • Vol. XXI No. 3/4 New Voices |

Blood Music

These things make no sound to me: the trace of your feet on stairs, the brush of flesh against flesh as we turn, not even waking. I think we only hear them differently, my ear hammer beating as dull and tuneless as the velvet-shoed end of a broken piano key, still pounding, insistent, as though it makes a difference. You listen for the bass of my blood against your temple, the swallow of our morning cups together, and I turn over newspaper pages as silent as skin, losing the small healing of your breath against my neck, the tacit steps behind me, the fine points mute in auricle, lost in the guttered shell of cochlea. Instead I hear this: on the shore, emptying a white conch of its ghosts, wet sand spilling in my open hand like ash, bone-colored, still warm. The inside tunnel is smooth, a darker pink and I press it to the skin furrows of my ear, your voice over tides, It's not the ocean. It's your own blood, echoing. I panic, throw the shell do

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Alison Stine
Alison Stine is an essayist, poet, novelist, and visual artist. Her most recent fiction book is a novella The Protectors (Little A), and her most recent book of poetry is Wait (University of Wisconsin Press). An NEA Fellow and former Ruth Lilly Fellow, she works as a reporter, and illustrates for The Rumpus.

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These things make no sound to me: the trace of your feet on stairs, the brush of flesh against flesh as we turn, not even waking. I think we only […]

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