On the basis that saying shhhhhh
sounds like using a can of spray paint,
I am thinking of inventing sprayable silence.
Like all artists, I would shake the can
before using – the clack-a-lack of a soon to be
muted voice box – then apply liberally
to many, many people. My shhhhhh would quickly
fill the room, street, town, country,
my own fingers stained with quiet,
my arm taking great strokes back and forth.
And then I’d pause, and step back
to admire the effect: an entire population
painted shtum, eyes blinking dumbly.
The silver birch outside the window
is your mother, fussing and rocking in the wind.
You and your siblings have caught
the bug of April and burst into flower,
blossoms fat and waving, leaves
a sudden green fuzz.
The evening is glowering and wet
and she is fretting, trying to shield your new
tenderness with her arms, afraid that you
have all given yourselves away to a spring
who was not what he said he was,
who was merely a fleeting visitor.