20 years old
University of Waikato

I am the crackle before you return the earpiece to its cradle.

The forty two seconds of nothing that forces a whole breakfast show from the airwaves.

I am the silence that presses upon your midnight ears.

I never stop humming, and you, like everyone else who has ever been offered truths for which you are not ready, have learnt to ignore me.

Beyond that, you have convinced even yourself that I cannot and do not exist.

You have curled into the slow curve of your inner ear,

beggar in a dank doorway

pleading for everything but the knowledge that will warm you.

You rub my image from the corner of a steamed mirror and take two white pills to drown out the drumming of my fists on your temple.

Because I scare you.

I know things you don’t and think you can’t.

I grip you in the clarity of dawn, wake you every hour until you surrender,

and smother me with coffee and statistics of war and celebrity.

Bubbles in my throat burst with the answer to every question you have not yet asked.

I know where you misplaced that gnarled key,

balding sock,

glittering ring,

first kiss.

I know why he left you,

why you found her,

and all those you reached for in-between.

I want you to know why, on a sticky summer’s night, you can feel strings tug at your joints.

I want to tear back the velvet curtain and show you the purpose that hunches there.

You will listen one day. When you stop.

When you have to stop.

You will fight with the fury of an exhausted child. Fists clenched, punching your disdain, staccato on scuffed wooden floor.  You will struggle harder than all those before you,

but finally,

splintered and bleeding,

your hand will fall into my outstretched palm.

I will kneel beside you,

whisper waves of solace to rock you to the place that is not here.

I will catch the tears of your lover and stitch them,

a row of satin roses upon your engraved tomb.

You will hear beyond the humming,

you will need to ignore nothing.

You will inhale all of me, allow me to fill you until your lungs are aflame.

I will place my hand upon your dewy cheek and you will lean into me.

We will hold one another until dawn once again breaks.

This poem is part of the TEARAWAY Young Poets feature for National Poetry Day.

The Common Room