Colette Strassburg was a runner up in 2003 Marlboro Review's Prize in Poetry for her Poem "The Din of Solitude " selected by Michael Ryan

The Din of Solitude

I've moved into a place —
it's smaller than the old shed
where you threw all my things
the day you threw me out.
You went through our house
with Hefty bags
and chucked everything that carried the scent of me
to the bottom of a sack.

You filled 9 bags
in one swooping clunk and tumble.
The neighbors could smell your power.

My 270 gallon life.
My 9 bag marriage
sat in the shed and sweltered
in the heat of our umpteenth August together.

So I've moved to a place—
it's on the third floor of an old three story.
I'm as close to God as I've been since Baptism.
There's a sky light and a pilot light,
and not a cord in sight.
There's no TV. No radio. No stove.
No phone. No chairs. No shelves.
I'm a Quaker. I'm Amish.
I am simplicity incarnate.

I'm down to a three bag existence
and I'm shooting for two.

I've taken to lying flat on my back
on the floor
on the spot beneath the skylight
and I hold my breath.

The quiet becomes palpable.
It pushes on my chest and I have to clench teeth
so as not to exhale too loudly.
I hear only random birds outside
sending a note on the breeze
and the far off whir of the furnace.
I lay bathed in the light of an October moon
and blink to the rhythm of being alone.

Colette Strassburg is a journalism instructor and the Coordinator of Student Publications at Yavapai College in Prescott, Arizona. She has a BA in English and a Masters in Education. She recently moved from the snowy mountains of Colorado to Arizona with her partner and son. The snow shovel is gathering dust.

Copyright ©2003 Colette Strassburg

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