dumb

Published June 6, 2012 by April Fox

it’s been a while since i’ve spoken,
really.
brief phrases uttered without feeling to the people walking through the great glass doors
looking to me for guidance
about things that i’ll forget
in twenty seconds-
you need me now
without you i would starve
there is a symbiotic contempt
that keeps both parties smiling,
fake through rotting lips
you go home and tear your fabric
i go home and you never existed
outside the glass-tomb hell
where we were forced
to interact-
anyway, that doesn’t count
as speaking.

here and there, words, small and fat with pure intent, i tell my people
that i love them
that i love them
and i love them
questions proving it:
peanut butter and jelly? do you have clean socks?
how did you sleep?
i missed you while you dreamed
of things you can’t remember-
the thought of nightmares in their minds makes me ill
and turn away.

tonight i drove blind, as usual
making all the right turns, stopping at all the right signs
and pavlovian signal-lights
until i gathered them deep into my arms
breathed in their little girl-smells,
little boy-smells
the spicy neck-smell where oxygen is bred
just below the curve of an ear
resuscitated
by the quiet
and the vast night air
(i might survive tonight
again
tomorrow might be possible
again)

home now, i am soaking up bukowski
alone in a small room
with purple painted walls and fake flowers on the bookcase
second-hand table covered with third- or fourth-hand knitted
afghan
through the beaded curtain i can hear
the sharp intake of sleepy breath
of the small boy stretched across the couch
and see, out of the corner of my eye
the fork held poised in mid-air
by someone held captive
by science fiction on the television

and when i open up the notepad
(electronic now)
to write, he sits across from me,
playing music
i fall dumb again, distracted
life was muted long enough
and still, i fail to speak.

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