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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Caruso

What Silence Does

by Vanessa Caruso


I’m known. I’ve suffered the beams

of God’s gaze - Their magnifying glass,

at the right angle, feels like flame. Under

radical regard audacity blooms,

remakes. I have a more real face.


I’m living like a monk.

Little monastic bells are hidden

everywhere: how-do-you-do’s with

the neighbors, my six-year-old asking for

anything, the oven timer beeping

for the same lemon glazed cake

my mom brought to each ballet recital -

the edges crystallizing overnight.


I’m humming all the time the lullaby

I’ve been pining for, and heard once

in birdsong, humming as I twist the dishes

under the tap, humming as I unfold

my spine on our sandstone rug, humming

as I scribble the street numbers of my

favorite wild homes in this tucked-in town,

humming as I fund the heart’s imagination

with my dimes of tithed attention.


I’m interpreting cravings as greetings,

jealousies as clues, and headaches as a

ballad from my body, wooing me to lay off

the striving for an afternoon. There is no

such thing as capital L Lost time, no

learning too slow to count, no

woman so beautiful

I disappear.


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