The Quiet World
In an effort to get people to look
into each other’s eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.
When the phone rings, I put it to my ear
without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.
Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.
When she doesn’t respond,
I know she’s used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.
And an insubordinate response :
words for you —
When a look is all you need,
save the sighs
for the slight
we’re about to have –
that you won’t respond to.
Because while you go about
and totalitarian rules,
in the thistles
sinking in the sand,
wondering how to see through
the bone dry dust
of your dull dulcet words.
We should talk
about what this lack of
Because my silence
is a complete absence of sound.