A Therapist Queries His Wife, A Pianist, About Silence (poem)

by | Feb 20, 2024 | 4 Hunger & Thirst, 5 Merciful, Poetry

A Therapist Queries His Wife, a Pianist, About Silence
J. Marshall Jenkins (for Wanda, Valentine’s Day 2024)

When musicians talk, what do you say
about the silence between the notes?
Is it like the silence between us
as we sleep and eat or as we segue
from talking about the grocery list
to talking about faith?
Is it like a canvas upon which
you draw lines with the melody
and paint hues with the chords?
Or is it like the silence I offer
to my fellow strugglers while
they recount long treks under the weight
of life’s details and deaths,
their vertigo in the lightness
of freedom for they know not what,
their hangover after nights and nightmares,
their hopes for another morning.
Oh how they seize that silence,
how they fill it, so desperate
to be known. When you play,
do you sense a desperation like that
for something beautiful
to be heard and known,
something like my love for you
that I cannot stop singing?

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Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they will receive mercy (Matthew 5:6-7).


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