I sometimes lay here in the quiet, listening to the sounds of silence. It’s amazing what one can hear when there is nothing to be heard. No thoughts in your head, no crickets humming, noisy neighbors and no obscenely loud mufflers outside on the street. Nothing but the simple sounds of breathing. As I lay here quietly, I watch while Brad’s chest moves up and down next to me, I am content. Odd shaped shadows from the streetlight outside leave blackened marks on the walls from covered up stains that the 2 year old artist who lived here prior left. I give them names, peculiar names; no one would ever give to a child let alone a Barbie doll. Like Eleanor, Larry, Fletcher or even Stanley. The types of names that make you cringe when you hear them. Those types of names you never hear anymore, unless you are reading the obituaries.
A yellow glow shines in my window
Looking down on me as I lie in bed.
I am unable to feel anything
Cold boards creak as people crunch together
Tired but not able to lay down
Framed together in a small box
Rolling loudly along its tracks.
In the dark; starving, naked and cold.
A soft rumbling in my stomach
I can only try to ignore it;
fragmented souls were all they had
Amongst a formal star
Rows of sexes by the hundreds
Faces lost in another town
I cling tightly to my daughter
Her hair tickles my nose.
As dirt covers their bodies
While they dig their children’s grave.
I cling tighter and tighter.
My hands fold together
Like sharp blades of grass
Blowing in the wind.
I pray loudly.
Over and over,
Until I too fall asleep.
I am the man you pass by near the Baron Fork Bridge.
Every morning at 7.
The one you can never look directly at.
This coat I wear has faded along with my auburn hair.
The smell of your aftershave reminds me of better times.
Before death and rape took what little was left of my mind.
My family, and my name
As my children look up to a better man than I could have ever been.
I am the mother who brings the man near the Baron Fork Bridge hot coffee, spare change and rolls each morning.
The coat he wears belonged to my father.
Before the War took what was left of him.
I can still hear his booming laugh in the living room.
While my sisters and I played dress up.
I love the way his eyes crinkle up in the corners,
When he smiles and tells me his story.
Only he doesn’t know that we share the same one.
His yearning to be home quashes me.
I leave behind me my blood, and his booming laugh.
The living room I grew up in comforts me
While he eats alone in a cardboard box for one.
I am one firework displayed in Atlantic City.
By hands who could afford me.
Listen to me scream as I raise high above you, if for only a small moment.
I cast my colorful glare above you- my audience.
One short and expensive moment of glory.
I leave behind me waves of dirty smoke in the blackest of skies.
As what was once my audience looks on to a better firework than I could have ever been.
A cool feeling of a half used tablet on my lap.
The current page positioned neatly between tiny bored in the backseat scribbles of a child.
Blank, it stares up at me, waiting and knowing it is the perfect hour,
Our usual hour to be seduced.
I glower back, knowing the words don’t visit me as I rest anymore.
So I sit here in yesterday’s clean pajamas,
Beside yesterday’s coffee mug.
My fingers mimic the shape of an L around my mouth.
Next to me are a dictionary, and a headless ken doll.
Ken was bumped off by my daughter’s seven year olds hands.
I gave up looking underneath beds a month ago.
And so I sit here in front of this mirror next to Ken.
My creases whisper softly like preschoolers telling secrets,
“We cometh in Peace”
I could roll in the isles cackling except,
“THE HELL YOU DO”
It hits me then,
Little brown eyes peeking through a crack in the door,
Placed neatly among tiny seven year old,
Pink painted fingernails.
Eyes curled up with wonder and orneriness.
Like a teenager sneaking out,
With her dilapidated blanket in tow.
She nestles herself into my chest.
As I take in the scent of her grape shampoo and coconut lotion.
Soon, I forget about the laundry, the creases, and Ken’s missing head.
Photo Courtesy of my daughter CJ
I glance at the lingerie I used to wear and chuckle.
I’m not bawling inside.
I never did look good in grey and I seem to be insipid in black.
Throw it away.
I can answer my phone without disinclination,
And chew the fat without thinking. That.
You never looked good on me.
We were two things simply measured.
Variables that weren’t directly manipulated, but obstructed.
By circumstances that lacked sense.
An interloper drinking your coffee,
The mental arousals that I perceived as challenges,
Now, elaborate rehearsals.
A drunk’s symphony.
You thought we shared the moon.
Silly. Silly. Boy.
We all share it.
The only real thing we shared was some spit and a napkin.
That is placed neatly next to that lingerie.
In a hovel buried somewhere,
Reeking of rotting fruit and motor oil.
Next to inimitable faces of actors
Auditioning for their next role.