She learns them early:
words you do not say,
phrases never used,
names not mentioned.
There are the stories only told among family,
and those stories never told among family.
The rules multiply,
doubling and tripling quicker
than the days. At times, too fast
to memorize: when, if, maybe, never.
These never spoken rules swell and grow,
overwhelm her days, swarm like bees
buzzing overhead, waiting, waiting for one slip.

Everywhere she turns words swirl
around her, hypnotizing her,
her own pied piper leading her
away from the silence of the rules.
She loves the way the words taste,
how they rub against her tongue
salty one time, sweet the next,
never knowing what to expect.
But the rules follow her, haunting her.
The silence thickens, swallows the air,
traps her, a vise squeezing her,
wringing the words from her
like water from a rag.

One night in the darkness
she locks her door,
burrows beneath the blankets
and whispers the words,
hears the language sing.
She snatches a pen
some paper and the open surface
swims before her,
the silence melting into the clear smooth
ocean, she writes the first letter,
breaking the silence, and in minutes,
letters twirl and twist.
Words form, bend and twine,
blending to tell a story, her story.
Her laughter spins into the darkness
and dances with the secrets
released, free to swirl into the night
unashamed and alive.











Background image by Kabir Kashyap Web graphics and design by Smita Maitra