after Monica Youn
when my grandfather speaks from the couch
the iPhone screen is reeling forward
its pixelations smooth nearly as flesh
when he stops speaking
the image has halted between
the movement of his arm and his arm.
by outsourcing the work of story-keeping
to my digital handheld device
I forfeit what silences?
I forfeit what grandmother’s hands
in motion in the next room,
moving constantly to rearrange
things that are not words
into more comfortable seats
for these involuted breaths.
every telling is born with its
twin opposite, a not-telling,
apocryphal maybe, although
anything can be not caught on camera
anything can be not held in the
electromagnetic field of a palm
any sweet urging can sit down
any old place
like the rats the movers found, months later,
gnawed into the back of the couch,
their nest previously unknown, unseen,
their keening senseless,
a babble I didn’t hear
and wouldn’t repeat.
who could have heard those
tiny rodent hearts when they
settled in? pumping blood
all the same, adamant as
the pulse that impels my
thumb to press pause.