Illustration by Sussi Louise Smith.

The silence

My parents left because of the silence
and the smoking thurifer
that marked their sheets.

Like gypsies they bounced between
cities with promises and
nicotine-stained hands.

She crept between their windows,
forgotten letters, creased at corners,
and aged photographs of mice.

Until they wandered into hollows
and with childhood melodies
hummed their youth away.

No – I was not born under city lights.
A new kind of silence for me,
800 miles into the trees.