the healing muse

Volume 13, 2013

When I Was Silent

Jane Seskin

People understood when I pointed to my throat
and shook my head No . . .
when I was silent for a week in the city.

During this time I carried a pad and pen
but still yearned to be seen with my voice
and noted with melancholy, the absence
of conversations I regularly have
with my neighborhood.

I missed saying to friends:
Hello. Yes. Please. I’m sorry. Thanks.
I’d like you to . . . Let’s talk again. Love you.

Girl Scout sensibilities were thrown off balance
as I couldn’t yell to stop a fight, or
offer street directions to a tourist.
Vocally impotent,
I settled into quietude with gestures.

I still longed for my voice which I did indeed like,
but surprisingly, had many interactions
where people smiled at me,

smiled at me with kindness
seeing my moments of vulnerability.

And I learned.
The silence thundered: pay attention
to family, friends, self, life.
Talk less. Listen more.

Back to Volume 13, Table of Contents

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