Beyond the Silence — Poem by K. B. Ballantine

Whispers from the walls
conquer the silence of the street.
Memories flow into and through
me: you mowing the lawn, planting
roses; her pink elephant, blue tie
scrunched in bow-shaped lips.

Whispers from the walls
remind me I’m alone, lost now
in this too big house. I finger
the chintz I picked for our room –
you didn’t care as long as there
was a bed.

Past the yellow
and lamb nursery where we planned
at least a quartet of new residents.
Moving from room to room, I
don’t need pictures to remind me
of your face, her face: our family

shattered. This path to the past
brings your touch, her voice.
But the path to the future lies
broken, ruined without you, her.
The silence in the street isn’t loud
enough to swamp the whispers
from the walls.

I long to lean
into your arms, feel you breathe
against my hair – safe in your
circle. I ache to comb her curls
into pigtails that refuse to hang
straight and see her face –
freckles above a milk moustache.

But what do I do with this growing
silence that floats through the street
and still won’t drown the whispers
from the walls?

KB Ballentine

KB Ballentine's work appears in River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-first Century (2015), Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI:Tennessee (2013) and Southern Light: Twelve Contemporary Southern Poets (2011). Her third collection, What Comes of Waiting, won the 2013 Blue Light Press Book Award.

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