Friday, May 8, 2009

Silent and Afraid

Waiting for the microwave to ding
The TV reporter caught my eye
She was young and styled,
Like all of them, at least most of them
With her tailored wool overcoat
And the wind gently mussing her hair
She stood with a mic near her lips hoping
Someone was watching, maybe they cared,
She spoke of a new park where,
“…drugs and brutality had once ruled the streets,
Children will play and families will picnic.”
Bulldozers groaned in the background
While houses disappeared

My thoughts drifted,
To an ageless matriarch
Sitting in the nook
With her house coat half buttoned,
It was once sunny yellow,
A smoldering cigarette
Bounced between her stained, cracked lips
Smoke hung in layers
Around the room
Occasionally she’d sip
From a near cold cup of coffee

Over the years a parade of men
Would come and go
Some would rummage the fridge
Making a sandwich or
Popping open a beer
Few would stay more than a month or two

Kids would giggle and slide across
The slick wooden floors
Until they got too close to the nook
Then all would be serious,
Silent and afraid
In other rooms they would play
Dreaming of being far away
When one got hurt they’d
Fearfully knock on the door of their
Mother’s room
Praying her anger would be less
Painful than their injury

Their mother was usually in her room
Resting, until she’d need to stumble
To the kitchen to refill her glass

At night the music got loud
Men would huddle by the curb
Under the street light
Talking and laughing
It seemed the night would never end

It felt like home
All over again
I turned off the TV,
Ate my dinner
Silent and afraid


  1. Oh, Jim. For next week's prompt already! (I'll put it in that RAP list.)

    And you've left me reeling. I think this is one of your best I've read. Besides so many other things I like here, the comparison to the styled reporter was so poignant, her wondering if anyone cared... and the way it took you back... and beneath our styled exteriors we wonder, when we speak, will anyone care about the pain, the droning loss.


  2. writing and reading helps dull the silence and fear