You hear the gods of your childhood whispering 

Laura Van Prooyen


everywhere. Under a lifted rock, the pill bug says yes,
turn a little to better see. Or they rustle in the maple’s shade
behind the chicken coop, stir in the feed.
Sometimes they hide in thick frost on a window
where you press a penny against the pane.
They tell you it’s okay to be cold. They tell you
you haven’t missed as much as you think.
They pinprick your eyelids as you try to fall asleep,
retracing your school bus route:  Sonny’s house,
his yellow dog chained to a circle of dirt. Then,
some days, the gods go silent. You wait, and walk
the cracked stretch of your street. Wait and wait,
but the mite on the wing of the goldfinch
never sounds. You know the gods are here, muffled
in your sweater’s red threads. They gather
in loose strands of hair you tuck behind your ear.
You wait on your paint-peeled stairs. A cricket
in the grass goes on a long time. Listen, listen here.