I cannot see what lies Outside the door When I am safe behind it. I hear voices Loud and bold. Are they broad and jubilant? Are they escalating to laughter or to an argument? A voice raises an octave. The speed of speech quickens. I am nervous and unsure. Do I look and see who is Outside the door? I work in a courthouse. It’s filled with lawyers, defendants and civilians. It’s a rotating door of comings and goings. The clicking of high heels Echo down the hall Until they disappear Around the corner. The walls in my office Are not as thick as One would think. Concrete is not a great insulator Against the reverberant noise. When all is quiet, I hear the tick-tock of the clock High up on the wall. It looks down A bird’s eye view. In the beginning, I had the best office with two huge windows overlooking College Hill. Always the sound of cars, of construction, of landscapers, Even voices of those below Peppered my days. Now I’ve been moved to a more active part of the courthouse. With a small window Overlooking the quad. It is grey no matter the season. The rays of sun Hardly get to seep down Into the square space. Noise permeates outside my door. It is a good thing. Quiet days tend to extend into A very long work day And I am counting the hours Until I can get outside. I crave solitude. At times, I crave The silence. The world is not A quiet place.