Wise Poets – Reginald Dwayne Betts – If Absence Was the Source of Silence

Reginald Dwayne Betts (November 05, 1980 -)

if absence was the source of silence some
things my sons would never hear
not from my reluctance to speak or the
thief that is silenced his mother’s
tongue his grandmother’s tongue turned
the stare of the woman who when it’s far
too early for the Sun to be out sees me
turning a corner with a new port the sky
and the ground is dark it’s the fear and
yesterday she swallows as she crosses
into what might as well be oncoming
traffic remembering a man from her past
stories my sons would not know not
because of a need to hide history those
bedrooms and boardrooms and work with
trust became carnage no these things
will be Pandora’s Box untouched and yet
they will know because and because it’s
what I tell my sons about what their
hands may do and long conversations
about with the hands of men do their
hands my own when I was 12 a friend told
me of men offer her money for her
slender and young body she no older than
me then arms not strong enough to carry
her own weight let it on push her past
the men who wanted to own what is hers
hers just the first of a story that
would keep returning the numbered hurt
rape is aftermath and this account of
trauma my boys would never know if the
world were different if a war did not
mean soldiers demand in the body of a
woman as land to plunder I keep trying
to turn this in a sense for me my sons
were hear a story about how hands like
there’s like mines made something
wretched of the memories of women we
love but don’t know at all this is true
and there is a map to take us to all
that hurt some silent saying at all but
let’s say the world is House on that day
all the silence tongues would have speak
without fear of being doubted out of
cars and hellos that
Kame dungeons of friends who became the
darkness that drowns all and so only
rage and sadness for me it may be after
we can build memory that does not demand
silence all the things that happen now
as if a part of being would not be and
my son’s lives will be carved out of
days in which their hands and body do
not suggest weapons days where all their
mothers and sisters can walk down any
Street in this world with the freedom
that comes from knowing he will be safe
after dusk or during those moments just
before dawn unlike today and yesterday
and now wearing the quiet and what might
ruin it is the threat there circles