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On Noises Overheard, Five Symphonies composed for Life in four Movements
Symphony no. 1 On Infancy
1. Coughing adagio. Bouncing bacteria in a cannon. To and fro! To and fro!
2. A soft sneeze of a baby: innocent and kind. A hug. You are reminded of your mother.
3. The slam of a closed book. Watch how the dust sparkles among sunbeams. Fairies, a young girl coos. Her father nods and smiles. They cross the bridge and turn around the bend, leaves crunching beneath them with each stride.
4. The chime of innocence and unconditional love you struggled so hard to grasp.
Symphony no. 2 On Adolescence
1. Snores and sleep talk. The conversation of campers late at night, bunk to bunk, a cricketing ricochet.
2. The gargle of a whipped cream can spilling into your mouth, when everyone else is silent and you didn’t get the memo. They stare. You turn red.
3. The click of a pen and flip of paper upon completing a test followed by a sigh of relief.
4. The soft drone of a parked car engine meeting the electricity of your first kiss.
Symphony no. 3 On Being 20-Something
1. The crescendo of laughter around a fire in the dead of night.
2. The spilling silence that follows tragedy. You realize Santa Clause and immortality sit on the same throne of lies.
3. The shaking of bells, a small reminder: time flies.
4. Laughter again, this time is just the two of you around the fire. You kiss.
Symphony no. 4 On Marriage
1. The sixteenth notes your heart beats as the ring is slipped onto your finger. They boom louder and louder, against your will. Can anyone else hear it? Take a deep breath and repeat: I do.
2. The hallowing cry of your first child. She reminds you there is a reason you stayed.
3. The awkward strums of eye contact and the stomach knot that ensues. You take a deep breath and introduce yourself. Symbols clang. Your hands shake. You remember the ring and ignore it.
4. Love. Harps and violins and cellos and a celeste. You remember that this is what it is supposed to be like.
Symphony no. 5 On Leaving
1. A choral moan for sins and forgiveness. Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, etc.
2. The rolling of a mulling, tangled procession of clouds before the storm.
3. The soft silence of the sinking sun as it wades between branches, zigzagging below the waving horizon.
4. The acute note of a violin, a minor chord. You decide it is best for you and your daughter to let go.