As a child
silence was my haven.

I learned to be quiet,
talk quiet, walk quiet.

I knew every board beneath the carpet.
Those that would betray me
and those that would not.

I crept in the mornings past
my brother’s bedroom door.

Evening time I huddled close to the television.
Silent images flickered over the screen.
The idiot box and I were muted.

Silence meant safe.

When voices climbed violence gathered.
Shards of the silence were wielded like knives.

The spoken word was a weapon.

Shouted threats followed crashing doors.
The pounding of angry fists
echoed my pounding heart.

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