The Sounds I Hear At Night

Every night like clockwork I hear these sounds:

Midnight- A rusty metal storefront gate coming down slowly
1am-4am-Reckless cabbies driving too fast over the huge sunken pot hole and scraping the manhole cover at the end of it
4am-Motor City pulling down their rusty metal gates quickly
6am- My neighbor slamming his door shut on his way to work and who always seems to forget something and then re-slams the door


It was a night like all the others. Empty
of everything save memory. He thought
he'd go to the other side of things.
But he hadn't. He read a little
and listened to the radio. Looked out the window
for a while. Then went upstairs. In bed
realized he'd left the radio on.
But closed his eyes anyway. Inside the deep night,
as the houses sailed west, he'd woke up
to hear voices murmuring. And froze.
Then understood it was only the radio.
He got up and went downstairs. He had
to pee anyway. A little rain
that hadn't been there before was
falling outside. The voices
on the radio faded and then came back
as if from a long way. It wasn't
the same station an longer. A man's voice
said something about Borodin,
and his opera Prince Igor. The woman
he said this to agreed, and laughed.
Began to tell a little of the story.
The man's hand drew back from the switch.
Once more he found himself in the presence
of mystery. Rain. Laughter. History.
Art. The hegemony of death.
He stood there, listening.

-Raymond Carver