There's a secret curve down the straight
music hallway. Songs in the draft
of every office add girth to my ears as I
walk Ä viola tremors wrap around soprano songs
that clasp onto bassoon bellows.
The loudest sound today was the slapping of my
lungs to my ribs as I passed the silent office.
It was often quiet, I never heard an organ preach.
But an organ is not like a piccolo, no room
in the office.
There is a difference between quiet and silent.
When the office was quiet, I could tweeze shuffling
papers, or voices from the room. Inert sneezes
or eager pupils.
But silence is the doorknob trimmed with carnations,
a note telling blanched students where to meet
for class, the twilight seeping through venetian
blinds, the fear of breathing easily.
Silence is forced swallow, and the first line
of this poem.
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