Friday, March 28, 2014

SOL 28 of 31 -- Weight of Silence

In my growing up home
night was
       heavy     and     fragile.

A creak in the floor,
the swooshing heartbeat in my ear,
a whistle in my nose
nearly shattered the silence.

My throat swelled at the thought
of talking, singing, calling out.
I never, ever shouted at monsters to

Even though things lurked under the bed.
Things that would grab a dangling foot
if one should slip over the edge.
I never got out of bed once it was dark.

Except one time.
I gathered up the spring in my legs and
off the bed, far from the edge
landing like a cat--silently--
in the middle of my room.

I had to pass my parents' room to get to the bathroom.
I was sure that I could not pee silently
and that the toilet flushing
would send everyone in the house through the roof.
So I stopped at their bedroom door and tapped quietly.
I had to tell them that I'd be in the bathroom
I did not want to startle them awake.
I tapped
and tapped
and tapped.
I got tired, my knees got cold
so I sat on the floor, pulled my large yellow t-shirt over my knees
and kept tapping.

Finally my mom opened the door.
Yes, go to the bathroom, she said.
I did.
I flushed real fast and
covered my ears, expecting the house to collapse around me.

I tiptoed through the hallway, into my room;
launched myself back into bed from 3 feet away
dove under the covers
and breathed silently.


  1. I love the vividness with which you remember and describe this memory... I can just imagine what it must have felt like to a young girl to have to get up I. The middle of the night!

  2. Pretty scary, kids imagine things that aren't, or perhaps your nights were that silent. The tension here is good, Susan.