A poem

I couldn’t go to sleep without it, the music
of those voices in my head, surviving or dying
as best they could among the sound effects
of footsteps in a hall, city traffic in a cab,
women older than my mother talking like girls,
The Shadow’s Orson Welles, or an imitator actor
pretending to be him, who knows what evil
lurks in the hearts of men—my own child’s heart
already damp with sin—the sometimes rain
of static interrupting what a murder means
or awful love or a dummy mouthing anger like
it’s comedy, until the stroke of midnight’s
then birdsong at first light to keep me company.