Stories were not read aloud there; tomes
of muffled manifestos stuffed
our bookshelves. Hundreds of pages,
torn and stuck together, bound
by loyalty, fear; by the silence
inherent in forcing confidences.
One parent pounds out his anger,
the other becomes black and blue.
How we all, then, wish for anything
to throw over our heads.
Secrets lined the hems of our flowery dresses,
smelled musty in our basement,
sewed our mouths shut.
But when the back breaks,
glues lose their stick, bindings
unravel. Thousand-year-old threads
pull free from pinholes
poked through ink-stained parchment.
Papyrus and palm leaves let go
their dusty stories, now,
into your hands.
Published in POEM Journal, May 2018