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Childhood Games

there was a big room at school

above the gymnasium

where we’d get to watch a VHS

an anti-drug PSA filled with copyrighted characters

               to get there

               30 or 40 kids

               had to climb a long flight of stairs

the teachers would tell us

it was a game to be silent

          i think i was the only one to play

          in the din of sneakers and plastic-coated steps

          i’d walk slow

          ears honed in on my steps

          quiet     quiet     quiet


now i am a night person

     even when i’m not

and my wife wakes up

               when i go to sleep

(a changing of the dream-guard)

so i creep around the house

                    barefoot with rolled-up pant legs

     moving silent enough not to get the little ones barking


people make so much noise existing

and the quiet is like a shroud

     letting you hear the whir of the ceiling fan

                                    the rustle of the palms

                                    the slice of the pen

                                    the turn of the page

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