I, Alvy, do not like to travel. Oh, and I am haunted by loud memories. 
-journal entry
I'm tired. The moon is full; its light 
dapples Lake Champlain.
It's quiet until, but as usual,
Pelagea and Tino, upstairs neighbors
in this apartment hive,
begin a loud argument. Tonight
it's where to travel. Pelagea favors
Japan, Tino, China. 
They argue often, and often, for more
serious reasons. Worrying, I'm now
imagining them both
whispering to each other, then anyone
who will whisper back, until
more lovers and friends begin
to whisper, until whispering
feels natural, muffling
all but a hint of every
grouse, secret, or threat  
shouted through ceilings, into
cell phones on any street, to
anyone, perhaps a barista
in a café.  At last
I will overhear less
accusations, reckless gossip
concerning any fraying marriage,
impotent doubt, or lament
festering in bleary, ragged memories
regarding what one
stranger or acquaintance
might do, might fail to do.
As for Tino and Pelagea, I cannot
hear anything, will not
intrude on anything
I hear. For now
their argument is spent.
Yet, I'm leery their stinging
words are only practice, a prelude.
Now, I find myself
holding a glass half full of water,
staring at patient moonlight.
The stove hood light now a pale
blue shadow on the stained
porcelain sink, where I, Alvy, find
Kate Walbert’s novel
In The Gardens of Kyoto, put aside
last night, while
I was distracted by Tino
slamming a door.
One thread of a sentence
floats into my mind, “...think of a thousand
things, lovely and durable
and taste them slowly...”
a wisp of poetry I'm not yet fully
remembering. I imagine
whispering so it goes, hard cheese,
all in time, yes
all in good time... no, stop, not
expecting any answer.
Anyone on a street, or alone
at home can feel invisible.
I'm tired, but will
lift Walbert's book, read it
from where I left off,
read words in a whisper, until
I can't help but
drift into this tentative quiet.
Michael Carrino is a retired lecturer in the English department at SUNY Plattsburgh. He was co-founder and poetry editor of the Saranac Review. He has had six books of poetry published as well as individual poems published in numerous literary journals.