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You Should Hear the Conversations the Windows Are Having

by Phil Goldstein

Content warning: child sex abuse

Did you know that the windows talk

when you flick all the switches

off at night? They send the light

they’ve absorbed during the day—rainbows, refractions, strong, fading—

out in waves to one another. They’re communicating.

You know, like tree root networks. Those are real, too.

Everything around us is chattering.

The weather vanes have their own secret code

as they swing in the wind. Sprinklers in suburbia click

their spritzes of water at individual cadences

that spit secrets in between blades of manicured grass.

Even the acorns talk. Did you know they send signals

in the precise way they fall down & tumble across scraggly fields?

They do. All around us is a silent symphony of transmission:

a message, a receipt, a reply, a dance, a chorus.

What are they all talking about? Well, everything, naturally.

Everything we hope will stay hidden, that we barely allow

to rattle around inside our skull-domes.

The silent agonies they observe—that is their currency in

this opera of exchange, the ever-expanding radio waves

windows, sprinklers, wind-chimes, trees & all manner of leaves

discharge into the air every day without a sound.

They know. They know. They know.

They know that the husband is cheating on the wife, who had

started cheating on the husband six months before.

They know the way the child expertly

filches a $20 bill from a pocket book before breakfast.

They know what kind of porn you watch when you’re alone.

They know that the older brother has been molesting

the younger brother for two years. They know the heaviness in the little one’s skin.

They know the silence. They know the shame.

They know it all—& they talk about it all the damn time.

They can’t go anywhere, so they talk.

They don’t experience hesitation, the way you or I do.

They are so free to discuss, dissect, gossip, divulge.

Aren’t you jealous? I am.

Phil Goldstein's debut poetry collection, "How to Bury a Boy at Sea," which reckons with the trauma of child sexual abuse from the male perspective, was published by Stillhouse Press on April 2022. His poetry has been nominated for a Best of the Net award and has appeared in or is forthcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, The Laurel Review, Rust+Moth, Moist Poetry Journal, Two Peach, The Indianapolis Review, Awakened Voices and elsewhere. He currently lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and animals: a dog named Brenna, and two cats, Grady and Princess.


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