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I woke up in the dead of night, and for once it was com­plete­ly silent. No changes in air pres­sure from the fur­nace caus­ing the duct­work to flex, no rat­tle of my upstairs neighbor’s fur­nace, no truck rum­bles from 490 or creaks from floor­boards or coughs from some­one smok­ing next door, not even the white noise which I sub­con­scious­ly tune-out while at work; sounds cur­rent­ly most notice­able as I write about last night’s silence. So why did I wake up?

I don’t think I woke up because of the silence. And in any case it wasn’t as com­plete­ly silent as I led myself to believe. Ini­tial­ly, I thought that I was wheez­ing; some­thing that only hap­pens when I’m sleep­ing in a place that has cats. I took a deep breath to test this out, but I was breath­ing easy. Then I real­ized that the sound I was hear­ing was my heart­beat. Not just the “What does a heart­beat sound like, Tim­my?” sound that Tim­my would make if some­one asked Tim­my what a heart­beat sound­ed like, but some­thing almost preter­nat­u­ral­ly keen. I could hear and feel my blood being pushed into my ven­tri­cles and flow­ing into and out­of my veins and arter­ies. A heart­beat sounds noth­ing like what Tim­my thinks it sounds like. You don’t hear paus­es between the beats, it is almost like lis­ten­ing to the tides of the sea.

So now I’ve tried an attempt at con­crete poet­ry and anoth­er thing.

One Reply

  • That is a very dra­mat­ic experience…and well described.

    I once had to have an ultra­sound on my carotid arter­ies. There was an accom­pa­ny­ing sound effect that the tech turned up while show­ing me the video of the blood mov­ing.

    It was hum­bling to hear my body work­ing like that. It also was a moment that I real­ly under­stood how lit­tle is between me (that mov­ing blood) and noth­ing.

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