There’s a message in your hesitancy,That gap of time before you speak
That tells me more about the moment
Than any words you may come up with.
I have been studying all your silencesFor many years now. I note each pause,
Its spacing, its timing and then its cause.
I have made a science of your silence.
I have become an expert on uncertainty,A connoisseur of caution, a devotee of
All doubtfulness and your indecision,
The local authority on tentativeness.
And I have tried everything to stop it:Fed you lines at times, kept talking over
Your pauses, or quickly looked away
As if distracted by what you might say.
And I have imitated you to you at times,Used your gestures, opened that chasm
Between my speaking parts and filled it
With the nothing you’ve always shared
It was something
in the greater scheme
a bit of history
that can’t be fixed,
a lapse in judgment
as heavy as time
as heavy as silence.
Normally, we said
as if it mattered,
patterns we could
predict and tame,
routines we knew
were safe to say,
except that once
when I went on
to say what I said,
words, I still hear,
things, I should never
have said out loud,
J. K. Durick is presently a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Juice, Napalm and Novocain, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground Review.