Lorrie Ness

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Silence is a Window

my therapy office        is a dim womb
with walls       warm as blood through the belly
voices sound large      when clock beats       
& exhale         are their only competition

my ability to receive   involves constantly letting go
breathing deep      helps me sharpen the gradient      
between receptive         and receptacle

i say my sighs         and slow slips into silence
make space for her          but it isn’t true
everyone              makes their own pauses

when we were face to face     i didn’t know where she went       
as her words stopped              and her gaze groped the ceiling
the vacancies              were hers alone

now that our sessions       flicker on a screen
i watch her side of silence      reflected in her glasses
blue glare flashing         window after window

a website about home abortion
a website about God

Mea Culpa

All the times
we stood with the rain
falling through our breath,
she never coaxed with a bonnet
or wrapped my shoulders
in a slicker.

Her choice —
shielding me from weather,
or silencing the patter
of drops in my hair
that I loved best.

I learned to echo
mom’s porch swinging.
Riding the willow with my tire,
sailing so quietly
I could hear ice melt
below her gin.

My choice —
shouting for her to stop,
or listening while she played
the tumbler, the instrument
she loved best.


Lorrie Ness is an emerging poet working in Virginia. Her work can be found at Palette Poetry, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Typishly and various other journals. In 2019 and 2020 she was nominated for a Best of the Net Award by Sky Island Journal.