J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Juice, Jellyfish Whispers, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground Review.
At first it’s the eyes that catch us
and hold us steady – as unblinking as truth,
and then their whispers start, fill the hush
with a certainty, the comfort of distance
protects them this time.
The discomfort fits us – like a child’s
topcoat, like a leg brace fits us, fills us
with stammer and slant, loses our place
and our voice, blurs the familiar with
the strange, fits dread to outcome,
leaves us alone in this crowded room.
There’s blame enough, a bruise or two,
a stalled life, a hesitancy we can’t explain,
the mystery, the history of our silence.
It’s always there, the eyes and small voices,
there, like the ghosts of our dead friends
who trail behind us to remind us
of what came before and what comes next.