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
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.