This is an excerpt from The Measured Breathing by Michael Hettich.

The Stranger

We're the halves, of course; we keep our have-nots

jumbled in the corner. Would you like a glass of wine

on the terrace with this me? You, and then the butterfly

I glimpsed in the lobby of the hotel that morning,

fluttering zig-zag in the air-conditioned swoon

into the elevator. And later, when I came back

it was just this song. As though our whole bodies

could rain on some landscape we've just stumbled into,

nurture it that way. We keep dread by the door

and talk about recycling. In my office was a bird

large as a filing cabinet, or a small person's bed,

a heron which burst up when I carried in my morning's

not-life; it flew off, against the empty wall,

so I drank my espresso like silence. Touch me,

someone was singing, where there might still be a mouth,

and not because I'm hungry, though I'm starving, though I'm bare

bones. But we knew that: A place beyond this air

where gentleness purrs, and the silence. Touch me there.