In my growing up home
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 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 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.