Hidden in the screaming silence

Yoyo Ma once professed on the radio that music happens between the notes
and that poetry happens between the words,

and oh boy, there’s some truth in that,

I am the breaths you self-censor and the screaming silence that follows

I am your subconscious thoughts,
I am your unmediated mind,

I am the words you’re too afraid to choke up,

I am the eyes that peer at reality through the fog of expectation,

I am the lost child standing beneath clenched fists after another storm,
I’m the kid trying to finish their trigonometry homework and put three younger siblings to bed,

I’m the echo of a bullet breaking through its shell
I’m the taste of gunpowder on your fingers as you eat your morning toast
I’m the lump in your throat that you can’t swallow as you sip on that scolding brown sludge,
I’m the bruised spirit
with too many bullet holes,

I am those trousers you pull on with too many holes to bother repairing,
I’m those socks your mother knitted for you,
I’m that bald patch on your head from always wearing hats in the sun,
I’m your freckle-speckled-neck that never got shade,
I’m the click in your knee every time you try to run fast
up stairs,

I am the aching shoulder that slows you down in the water,
I’m the ear infection that gives you only one side to sleep on
facing away from the window,

I am the amusement park on full blast
blinking fluorescent lights, 
echoing shrill screams, 
I’m the gut churning head spins coming from all directions,

I am the backseat driver,
I’m the tram inspector 
I’m the police officer that pulls you up for J-walking,
I’m the employer that dismisses your coloured hair and tattooed arms,
I’m the customer that undermines you for your femininity and your young age,

I am the oven,

                           you switched off

before you sat down 
to read this,

                                or did you?

I am you,
cowering in the corner
rocking back and forth
holding your limbs into your body.

I am fear,
would you care to
test me.

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