People Talking Without Speaking


The Sound of Silence

The absence of sound is not silence.

Inside the perfect vacuum of a tightly sealed room,

one can still perceive a slight high-pitched ringing.

Within the hush of a monastery,

the monk must tame the relentless chatter

heard only in the mind’s ear.

The family pet will respond to a dog whistle,

though its shriek passes through human senses undetected.

Everything in the universe emits a frequency,

regardless of one’s ability to be aware.

But what of the acoustics of emotion,

the vibrations of sentiments and desires?

As I place a palm over my heart and ponder

the message it sends out on invisible waves,

a deaf woman long-buried in a nearby cemetery

twists in her tomb —

just enough to free her arm, lift a bony hand,

and sign the word desolation.

Jenn Howe

April 18th, 2016



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