Break the Silence

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Break the Silence

Quiet in everything, you, as a child
and even now:
not quite shy, just listening, Waiting
nose and ears to the air
It's funny that I took so long to realize what you were


Quiet your breathing as you sleep
I dared not show my proper face while you were walking awake
not afraid so much as wanting to avoid
useless worry, soft questions whispered
over cups of tea


The locks on my cell couldn't keep out the sounds of screaming, you know
I missed most of all the voices of friends
all your old laughter
stupid jokes we made, late-night plans and plots
songs sung near-silent under your breath
all the ways the human voice is used for frivolousness


Other things I missed as well, things
that would have been hard to admit when I was young:
A hand on a shoulder, felt through layers of clothes;
the faint smell of you that would cling to my robes
Things that get bred out in polite society
become anchors outside it, memories carefully contained
slowly sucked away but clung to all the same


All these things I thought I'd never feel again
things questioned in years of silence
as though you'd never existed
I really almost thought that I'd made you up in my imagination
like I'd made up sunlight, made up fields
made up running wild beneath the full autumn moon -
Of all the things I need right now
I most want to hear you speaking
For now I know I'll have to be content with breathing