Oct/Nov 2006 Poetry

the silence is worse

by Rob Taylor

Photo by Jim Gourley

the silence is worse

my office is next to a kids' day camp
and from nine 'til three the noise
is astounding, but from three-thirty
on, after the glue and glitter have
been scrubbed away and the last kid
(timothy—it is always timothy)
has been picked up, the whole building
is mine—which, like most things, is
thrilling for about seven minutes—
after which i grow restless and wander
through the deserted rooms where
today i found a coloring book opened
to a picture of a wild-eyed man in a
trench coat and the statement "because
some people are evil, you must never
talk to strangers."

someone had scribbled purple
pencil crayon over the
wild-eyed man's face.

the frightening part was how
i took the book and tore it into pieces,
my own eyes wild and frenzied, then
buried it in a garbage can and walked
back to my office where i stayed until
seven o'clock.

when i left there was only one other
car in the parking lot: a mother and
her fourteen-year-old son sat inside.
he was crying so i didn't make eye
contact. instead i drove until i was
just out of their sight, parked the car,
and wrote this.


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