The great unwashed

He would like the air quiet
when he partakes of his supper
her voices lurking in the shadows
of their modest home
to the sound of a tinny piano
behind doors, and at times
emboldened
over their heads
at the kitchen table

He says, “I want to be alone with you,”
when they sit later, reading
and she smiles, and rises
bringing him a piece of pie
comforted in the muted crowds
surrounding their daily routine
filling the empty rooms
that grown children long ago
abandoned

Cutting the last wedge of pie
on Thursday, for his lunchbox
she begins a shopping list
to prepare for the following week
listening to the whispers in her ears
of sprites and ghosts and back
alleyway detectives
about what the autumn will bring
cool breezes and
the voices of all the leaves
plummeting

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