Poem: In the Silence

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In the Silence

The place where you sit is empty.
Not a patron in the house.
Zepplin and Nora Jones take turns on the stereo,

It is late in the day. In the seam
between lunch and dinner
and the regular crowd is long gone.

There is snow outside, part of the reason
you are starting your day late.
a half-eaten burger and soft drink sit to one side.

You take a breath. You release the pain of the day.
You take another. And release more, a deep sigh
from somewhere submerged. Half relief. Half wonderment

The place you sit is empty. The cook is downstairs.
You are free to pray without gawkers,
free to dance in your seat and sing should you feel so moved

without the small town mavens wondering in whispers
about your sanity. Not exactly the talk of the town.
More the whispers.

You don’t mind. Not any more.
There was a time you did, but you have been broken
and remade so often it no longer matters to you.

You are comfortable in your Frankenstein skin,
in your patched soul, and even here,
in the silence.

About this poem

Older age has its benefits. One of which, for me, is caring less and less what people think of you.

I had a bad bout of pain this morning. It is all gone now, but part of me is still releasing it. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Breathing has a purpose far beyond getting air to the brain and far corners of the body.

From those two things, this poem.

The picture is of my house, right after I moved in a decade ago, as I was painting the walls and preparing to strip the floors. It is not great art, but I love the photograph.



  1. Pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr. Atkins. I receive your poem with gladness as well as tenderness. Good to learn that you are feeling well in your body again. – acertainwoman

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