Voices Through the Window

Photo by Max Reif.

Early morning voices came
from up the hill outside my office window,
where there’s another row of condos—
exotic, relaxed voices, unusually alive.

I also heard raking, and imagined 
these unseen neighbors 
removing leaves on the patio
where they might have had 
drinks last night. They spoke 
sometimes in English with accents 
that might have been French,

and sometimes in another tongue
that sounded French, as well.
Their conversation was leisurely,
then lively, humorous at times,
sometimes flirtatious: It spoke
delight in one another’s company

The lone female voice 
was pure music, its every sentence 
lifting all the others. 

Alone down in my office, Barbara still asleep upstairs, 
I felt a bit jealous of the camaraderie.

I got immersed in my work awhile
before the voices caught my attention again.
Glancing at the window. I saw
they were right outside!

They were not in fact French socialites,
but the work crew of Landscaping
here at our development.
What I’d heard from above—
Spanish, somehow  inflected by distance.

Two men wore yellow and orange plastic vests,
the mellifluous woman and one man, grey work outfits.
As they talked, they scraped the leaves
from our sidewalk and stuffed them 
into huge white plastic bags.

I  tried recording them,
but they drifted into silence,
only the rakes to be heard.
Finally, I snuck outside and snapped a picture.

My work called to me again.
Next time I looked outside,
the workers had departed.
The white bags filled with leaves sat 
on the pebbled median by the sidewalk.
It was very quiet out there.

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