The Floor Above

I could not say what floor it was —
because I did not know
what floor I lived on —
only that it was the floor above
where silence seemed to dwell —
unless it was because I could not hear
what was there
because of the noise of others
who lived with me.

It did not have a pretty or a friendly face —
instead the faces where I lived
were filled with images of things
I feared —
and a television against a wall —
the chatter of petty minds and petty faces 
the constant hum and drum behind the wall —
which I ignored —
for it was nothing more than noise to me.

But it had a telephone —
which reached another world —
the world of those I loved —
those no longer here
but whose messages I could hear.
They were both beautiful and tragic
and reminded me of the life they lived.
Love erased in a single moment
haunted eternally by the voice of those they loved —
recorded on a telephone.

They pretended to be happy
their voices filled with enthusiasm 
hopeful the ancient ones they had loved 
would reappear
found and loved again 
but not without a hint of uncertainty —
that kind of hope. 
Nonetheless it was persuasive 
and so, I plastered them to my body —
like a shield —
and traversed
the landscape of what I feared.

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