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Aubade with Wind Chimes and Hesitation

Head tucked between the pillow and its ragged blue case,

the dog snores more softly now. We fell asleep

sometime past ten. At some point, their dog

came in too, nuzzling between us,

so that our bodies were only a dog’s length apart.

They could have left at some point, but didn’t.

I woke up around six and, surprised to find them there still—

arm draped across the dog, towards me, almost touching

its left ear, the one that drifts downwards a little—I thought: we

are only one dog’s length apart. Last night,

on our walk, they said the wind chimes we’d made

from the rusted gears of old bicycles will remind us

this place, too, is an occasion. I was leaning against

a mailbox while the dog shit near a snowy curb,

one gloveless hand warmed by

the leash wrapped around it, the other

waiting in the air exposed for them

to hand me the flimsy bag once filled. I asked

which place, and they sort of cocked their head a little

and shrugged and said this place. How insufferably vague,

I thought at first, but now—just a border collie between us—

in my bed in the guest room of their childhood home,

I think it’s the only precision. An occasion. Like a spare room

you enter or find yourself finally in. How

that slightest touch of metal asks the wind

to speak, cleaving the distance between one lonesome thing

and what it can’t seem to stop being

drawn towards. I’m no wind chime. I mostly sleep with my hands

clamped tight under two pillows. All I’ve sacrificed

to avoid the embarrassment of affection, its obviousness.

It seems so silly now. This morning, when I first woke up

next to the dog, I propped myself up on my elbows

and looked at them—blue beanie tugged down

to their eyebrows, mouth wider on the left side somehow.

The dog sensed my looking; its eyes flickered open, then

it lifted its head a little and looked back at me,

and there we both were, blinking ourselves awake.


Noah Baldino is a trans poet and editor. Their poems have appeared in Poetry, Indiana Review, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. They currently live in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where they are a 2019-2020 Stadler Fellow.

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