Silence

by Penny Ouvry

snatches its moment between the orchestra’s
last flourish and the roar of applause,

is captured in the abstract on the far wall
made up of squares in different shades of white.

It hangs, swaying, between the judge’s question
and the jury’s answer,

creeps in holding its breath
when the baby, finally, falls asleep.

It lasts for ever when he tells you he loves you
and you look down at your shuffling feet,

soothes when you close the door on revelry,
step into still, star-filled darkness.

Now, it squeezes your heart as the consultant
points to the shadow on the scan, grips hard

until her words are drowned by a high-pitched
ringing in your ears.