Eavesdropping [poem] by Autumn McClintock

Matthew 7:4: How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye.’?

I’m a million splinters
making a plank, the knots

in the boards: how I hear them
gathering for dinner,

scraping their chairs back,
and the dog wearing down

his claws running to greet
or in fear of thunder.

Here, I am arced pale
by swinging doors

whose shush and creak
pinpoint the very ache

I know and don’t know.
Grand piano, record player,

computer bleep, and thwack
of baseball hitting a mitt.

Shaped like a needle,
the driveway rumbles its stones.

My dark little floorboard ears
hear it all. This and the voices

pushing prayer-breath
into steaming chicken soup.


Image of 1930s Switchboard Operator

Image by @joefoodie

Autumn McClintock lives in Philadelphia and works at the public library. Poems of hers have recently appeared in or are forthcoming from Carolina Quarterly, Citron Review, The Collagist, Redivider, RHINO, THRUSH, and Weave Magazine, among others. Her essay, “Responsible for Death,” appears in the anthology The Poet’s Sourcebook, published by Autumn House Press (no relation) in 2013. She is on the poetry editorial staff of Ploughshares.