her name was silence,
whom i loved in
this way: no gifts
were exchanged, nor did
she hug me in the
evening. i
always told her how
i felt, turned the
hose on when i
left, closed her gate
behind me. her joys
wrung quiet tears
from smiling eyes. she’d
smear eyeliner with
a finger, a
delicate witness
of passion. some days
she’d scream; a cry
so long and constant
it froze all motion.
time would quit and
neighbors would peer from
a shoulder, a hedge,
concerned for this girl
who’d removed her clothes
in the middle
of the street. but i
would understand and
run to her and
drape her bare shoulders
beneath coarse denim
and hold her cheek,
trembling to mine,
absorbing the wet pain,
the cruel electricity
of this moment,
until all was
again silent –
and still —
but for the exchange
of slow, thankful breath.