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.