Azimuth — Jennifer Neely

When you think of sound as three dimensional
On a plane with coordinates Cartesian:
x, y, z,
Perhaps then you can imagine your garden
As the centre of a cacophonic sphere
That stretches the edges of your hearing
And expands your intimacy
Further than the gate.

There: the bumblebee buzz behind you (x=1, y=-1, z=-1).
Inside: the kettle’s whistle and its removal from the heat (x=0, y=-5, z=2).
Next door: the undercarriage scrape of a car leaving the driveway (x=10, y=-2, z=-2).
Across the street: a jackhammer (x=-3, y=-20, z=2).
And, as if mimicking:
The rapid drumming of a woodpecker in the park ½ mile away (x=25, y=4, z=17).

If you walk, each sound map you make
Will change tone and composition,
Will intersect with a trillion others.
Woodpeckers will become robins will become car horns will become sirens.
For though you are the origin for your experiments,
You are not the origin,
And every sound has purpose
And exists independent of anyone hearing it,
And every form created with sound,


Jennifer Neely received her MFA in fiction in 2001 from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale; she has published recently in Broad River Review, Portage Magazine, and Steam Ticket.