by Kaydra Bui

upstairs the door 
slams again and quiet
is puncture after the word
mother soaks our grimed sink 
hands bare in boiling water she is
calloused to burning like this
she says if I could choose again 
this isn’t the life I would marry
in the kitchen I pass her apology 
an empty plate she scrapes
plate after plate 
at school three days a week
Sarah and I miss gym class 
alone in the hollow lock room
she sobs for bipolar disorder 
orphaning her family’s love
and around her my arms 
close like mute brackets
my mouth is crushed
in brackets 
Hemingway says
there is no such word
as love
there is no word
for sorry
how does the physicist feel? 
mapmaker of the cosmos
with language of mathematics
riddled where numbers aim 
telescopes into black holes
cannot see touch pronounce
the universe’s silence
the problem of X
negative space
ballooning throats like frogs 
wrung out wrong
wrung out hasty
croaks blundering 
the stillness of feeling
the hush in heart
before dressing the day with noise
and undressing its music 
in concert I remember 
the deafened violinist 
pretending play and stumbling 
loud into the motionless 
wide field of the orchestra 
holding breath
this time,
say my name with pause, 
a whole rest low on my back. 
(love) this quiet is where we 
can cry together you don’t 
have to keep talking you don’t
need to explain