Intolerance of Sound

I part my lips to speak
But my mouth is filled with sand
and newspaper clippings
detailing world disasters.

The only words that escape
Recount, unerring and emotionless,
A flood in Nepal.
An earthquake in Chile.
Car bombs in Paris and Berlin.
And I can’t open my mouth.
It won’t anymore.

I can no longer talk to people
that I meet at bus stops
or strolling through the park.
I can’t whistle at seabirds
Or whisper to the cat in the shadows
following me home at night.

I have become enveloped in
this great wave of silence.
At first it only lapped around my ankles
And all I was deafened to was
the fall of footsteps on concrete
Or crunching across frozen lawns
And flowerbeds laced with frost.

A bubble has formed around me
Of thick, sickly-sweet air
That only the odd hissing or clicking of a disapproving tongue seeps through.

And the world looks so different now;
More dark and grey and lonelier than before.
It seems that the sun’s rays are
actually more sound than light.
Maybe that’s why the nights were always so noiseless and still.
And maybe why your laughter
Used to seem like warm rays of sunshine
On a summer’s evening.


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