Listening

Benjamin D. Carson

Because two buildings are going up, both across the street from where I live, I get a stereo effect. It’s like having a Bose Home Theater system but the only CD I own is of steel cutting steel. My apartment isn’t totally closed. I have fifteen foot high ceilings, and about eight feet up there is an opening the length of the wall; and while barred it’s only screened. Dust and soot have left the screen mostly opaque, and this accounts for the grit that settles like a pall on everything. I can dust, but like the morning dew, it’s back the next day. A lost cause. The sounds from across the street from the two buildings going up, every one of them, ricochet off my walls so loudly I can’t hear myself think. And the sounds often leave me confused. One night, after dark, as I was reading in my living room, I heard someone singing. It was a male voice singing what sounded like a ballad. It was beautiful, but I couldn’t figure out why he was singing such a mournful dirge in my kitchen or how he might have gotten there. But there was no one there. Across the street, a young man, one of the workers, was sitting by the side of the road, singing, alone. I turned off my light, stood by the window and listened, imagining, as I looked at the construction site behind him that he obviously worked on in the daytime, so far from being done, keeping him so far from his own home, what he might be singing about. What he might be missing.

Benjamin D. Carson

Benjamin D. Carson is an English professor at Bridgewater State University.


Because two buildings are going up, both across the street from where I live, I get a stereo effect.

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