Howling high-pitched yips last night,
a dog set off another down the block
back and forth, insistent and incessant,

breaking sleep wide open.  Say it was footsteps,
hunger for a touch, or food,
or the calm that comes from filling

quiet with a voice.  Or a horror-vaccui of sound
instead of sight, like covering every wall
and table top with floral leaves and bric-a-brac.

But that’s the point, there’s a kind of solace
some would say who feast on patterns everywhere,
fearing empty space.

I’ve done it too, talked of nothing on the phone,
moved to rooms with choruses on tape
to keep from thinking,

measured sound and silence,
straining for the slide of slippered feet
on mourning floors.  I’ve eaten when I’m full
to fill what won’t be filled.