Simple Gifts

by Cindy Cao

The trees whisper restlessly and sigh with the weight of Atlas’ burden
The rain starts, then stops, then resumes, as if afraid to give the wrong answer
The critters murmur and laugh at antics beyond our line of sight
The trucks roar gracelessly by and shake the world for an instant
The tires chew the gravel, then abruptly stop—to swallow
The car beeps its assent cheekily and begins to slumber
The worn soles of my old combat boots rasp tiredly on their way home
Is it dawn or dusk again?
The keys scrape against the mailbox and jingle, muffled, in my dad’s leather
jacket’s pocket
The door groans open with the usual cranky welcome
The knob bounces, once, against the wall papered with childish scribbles
The screen door swings with a fizz like a fresh soda can, then shuts with a click
The sleeves of our jackets brush casually as we hang them up
The heels of our shoes clatter onto the shelf with the same old boring thud
The fridge hums solemnly, singing its daily work song
The stream of water gushes reassuringly and relieves my chapped hands
The suds squish busily between my fingertips as I try to remember where I
haven’t lathered yet
The steps creak prosaically in all the familiar spots
The quiet mumbles upstairs intone musically, with elegant crescendos and
The floor squeaks in protest when I make my way across the room
The chair at the dinner table grates against the floor and my ears as I settle into
My earbuds bump against each other with a slight twang
My thumbnail taps patiently across the small glass screen
My leg bounces with a light knock against the wooden table leg to the infectious
My heart pounds in iambic pentameter—or perhaps just in common time—to the
My thoughts spiral with the tinkle of rainbows to the sparkling melody
In this moment of silence today
My world is full of sound.