THIS IS NOT POETRY

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Morning Noon & Night

Their voices are a steady hum downstairs
I don't pay them much attention anymore
They've become regular noises of the house
Like the air conditioner's dry rattle
Or the soft plip and roll of the aquarium filter
And I don't find it strange anymore
The hysteric notes 
nestled always under their conversation
How strained "good morning" can sound or "let's go" 
Most of the time I'm disconnected
An un-speaking presence upstairs
Safely behind the barrier
of a closed door, headphones, running water
And if someone is crying when I step out into the hall
I know it will go away in a few minutes' time
Perhaps the fuzzy grey imprint 
of the gentle hiccuping 
Will hang around the family-room for the rest of the day
But I will never put a name
 to the tear-streaked cheeks
I've learned not to connect
the frustrated sighs with anything relevant
They live between these four walls
And once--if--we get out the door
A checkpoint 
The chaos of the morning
                                                     Stemming from an unknown force
Will be sucked into the rest of the day
and muddled and mixed
Until the ache in her spine
 could have just been from her book bag
A long day on her feet
And if she is still in bed 
after the school buses have made their rounds
I've learned not to question that
Or even ask if she's okay
It's just another day with her head above water
If only just
These nighttime hours are mine
She's crying on the inside all the time 

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