A Deafening Silence

Silence and then, “Come on.”
106th to 111th, left to State,
Then Michigan then down the hill
To Swedish town. Right turn, park,
Up a flight of stairs and talk,
Talk, talk in Swedish and every
Now and then a Jeanette. Bjorgy,
Bjorgy, bjorgy, Jeanette. Bjorgy,
Bjorgy, bjorgy, Jeanette. I, an
Eight-year-old, sat and watched
My Swedish father and his Swedish
Foster mother, my Auntie Anna,
Shake their heads and rake Jean-
Ette over the Swedish coals. Then
The journey was reversed and I went
Home to silence broken only when
I said, “Hi, Jeanette.” “What! What!!
To you my name is mother. Now go
To your room.” I closed the door
And entered, once again, the silence
That was to last through the night,
Through breakfast and until I got
On the school bus.

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