I’ve heard that animals can run over the desert without damaging the ancient top layer of dirt, but humans only break it down. Our culture tilts us toward the loud: the rhyme of noise with poise misleads us and so we may trust the decibel over touch. I once touched a man’s face and it wasn’t loud and he didn’t shudder and I could have cried if not for knowing that someone might walk in at any moment. How do you tell that? Am I telling it now? But you weren’t my fingertips. And you don’t know his smell. I knew this man for many years and we told each other things inane and things momentous, and I touched his face one day during a season that told us nothing of where we were in the year. Are you listening? There was no telling. You’re not hearing me out loud, and yet you still may hear. I’m speaking to your brain: I touched his face. The dirt in which we sleep is dented. But it will hold.