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
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 —
the landscape of what I feared.