/ voices \

There is the steel of a scraping knife you hear when you enter.
It is the sound of an unwanted story.

I dragged her down by the hair, down,
down the harshlit stairs of a violent silence.
His mouth was firmly closed, jaw defiant,
arms stolid yet limp by his side,
eyes focused on the receding light.

And I dragged her
till we turned the corner,
and I threw him into a chair
broken with blood
and memory.

He never looked down, never looked away.
For she was the fire in the hearth
where the air was heavy,
sweaty,
her vacant eyes
his tearless sobs.

Hands grasped the metal sides of the seat. Her hair was curled
in the scraps that I held in my calloused fingers,
his face shone with the intensity of raw mangoes,
teeth a canvas for blood.
A metal tinge stung
my tongue as I shouted.
I didn’t know whose blood I tasted.

Then there depart the tears, the fading song of the last leaf on granite.
This is the sound of acceptance.

She gave me nothing but her odor, his rambunctious scent
of cocked confidence,
blood, hope, sweat;
a rambling noir with villains locking
lips behind unlocked doors.

A glowing battery acid coursed through my drying memories of scars,
she thought she was strong in silence.

But her lips were locked against themselves,
and every time I dragged her down the stairs,
I had to brand into his arms and his lungs
the knowledge that the scars
were papercuts and I was dying without them.

And of the thud you hear once you fall off the edge of everything,
That is the sound of an unloved peace.

I felt my fist pummeling into my own face,
watched my mouth curl into a smile.
The mirror split, a man, a woman lay
unconscious inside each other.
In fighting, I was losing
a bit more than their voices,
a bit more than dignity,
blood, flesh, soul.

All I ever found in my contained continuum
of violent silences
was the freedom to scream when only your voices will hear you,
hurt when only your voices can stop you,
cry when none will come from her and he remains unspeaking.

Setting the metal atmosphere alight
in a laughing blaze of petroleum,
In the breathless high of control,
I shouted and screamed for anything
but that silence.

There is nothing else.

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