He could hear her laughing
She wrote her mirth with noisy ink
on paper-thin walls
And he read it from the other side,
wondering at the author’s inspiration.

He could hear her grumbling
as she stumbled home from work
Soft, irksome swearing,
Thump-thud of objects dropped,
stretching silence of exhausted sleep.

He could hear her singing
Muted mesh of 80’s rock
and Disney melodies
Crash, and giggle – she must be dancing
And he smirked and shook his head

He could hear her coughing
Clearing sore throat, sniffling groans,
treasure hunts for DayQuil,
And he sifted through his stores,
but could find none to bring her.

He could hear the silence,
the empty space of her absence
reaching through the walls
He turned up his music and danced
away from its grasping fingers.

He could hear her crying
Muffled sobs against the floor
She doesn’t move for hours,
frozen, immobile sadness. And he crosses
over to her door, and softly knocks.

– s. Clark