My Fading Silence

August 4, 2016

I don’t write poetry often, but I do appreciate what it accomplishes when done well. Every once in a while I get a little inspiration to poeticize, and last night was one of those moments. Here’s what I wrote. Enjoy.

My Fading Silence

I’m not sure where I am, or how I got here,

But that person whom everyone surrounds

Immediately takes notice of me,

And he calls me over, as if he knows me.

I know I should listen to him, listen intently,

For he commands authority—

I can tell by his voice.

I can tell by the way everyone stops to hear him speak.


He recognizes me, I know that for sure,

And perhaps I should be troubled,

Troubled that I’ve yet to recognize him.

But I don’t. I don’t feel any trouble here at all.

I sense that the man already knows this,

For he’s nodding at me, as if to say it’s okay,

That he’s not offended by my ignorance,

That in time my blankness will all make sense to me.


“Over here,” he says, as he points at a spot nearby.

“Come, let me offer you a word.”

I push through the crowds,

Still wondering how I even got here,

As I don’t remember where I came from,

Or what I was doing when I left wherever.

I just know that I’ve never been here before,

Yet, somehow I’m no stranger to this man.


I sit by his feet, and he instructs me to take higher ground,

Not quite level, but close enough to look him in the eye.

I feel a little small, if I’m honest,

Though, maybe I am a little small.

Many of the people here are larger than me,

Not all, but many,

And a part of me wants to feel intimidated by them.

I’ve already figured out that I’m not.


Anxiety does not describe my feeling,

Even though I wonder if maybe it should.

I know next to nothing but what I see.

The faces in the crowd are peaceful,

Convincing me that I’m right to relax,

But I can tell they’ve left behind some baggage—

It seems their peace has come at a price—

They hide it well, their smiles are bright, but I know I don’t identify.


The man does not hurry in his speech.

Whatever he has to tell me, it is no longer urgent.

But his soft smile convinces me that I still need to hear,

That a lack of urgency is not the same as a lack of importance.

I open my ears and wait for his word with anticipation,

As does every person still standing in the crowd,

Every person who leans forward in expectation,

Also without hurry in their faces or posture.


The man balls up his hand into a tight fist,

And he gently taps me in the shoulder with it.

He says, “Sorry you didn’t get your shot, my son.

Sorry they never gave you a chance.”

With a comforting look he says, “You could’ve been a contender.

A fighter like you, I know you would’ve changed their lives.

And you would’ve put a smile on their faces.

You had such potential, and you would’ve done much, I’m sure of it.”


Sitting up as straight as I can,

I look him back in the eyes,

Wondering what more of this I don’t know but should.

“My son?” I ask, flabbergasted at my memory lapse. “Am I your son?”

At least, that’s what I think I say—

It’s hard to tell if my mouth has a voice,

As I’ve never actually heard it before,

But it sounds like I might.


The man opens his palm—it looks different than mine—

And he pats me on my head.

For some reason, this makes me smile.

Again, I don’t know why.

“You are always my son,” he says,

“But I wasn’t always your only father.”

I hear the words washing over my ears,

But I don’t fully understand what they mean.


He acknowledges my silent question with an audible answer.

“Let me explain,” he says, but he doesn’t stop there.

Just as many of us here, who also rest in this unfamiliar place,

Do not have the wealth of memories that so many others do,

He recognizes mine as being equally dry,

And he begins to tell me how I got here and why.

None of it makes any sense to me.

He smiles and says it’s not really supposed to make any sense.


He tells me my story, and I don’t know how to respond,

For even though it’s true, it feels like it should be a lie.

Maybe I don’t understand the place I’ve come from,

But I find it hard to imagine it would treat me with such disregard.

When I look at the people around me,

Each with their own stories to share,

I silently beg them to help me understand,

Yet they only echo the story my father tells me.


They tell me what I don’t want to hear:

That even though they’ve all come here under differing circumstances,

My circumstance is among the most common—

Traveling from stage one to stage three,

Without the necessary transition through stage two,

An arrangement by way of ignorance, or stupidity,

Or by way of entitlement, they say.

The hand of a robber, of a soulless villain.


He assures me that I’m not alone here.

Sixty million others were once like me.

That’s a number I don’t fully comprehend,

But he tells me it’s enough to fill a civilized nation.

I continue to listen to what he says,

And he continues to explain things to me with an apology.

He keeps telling me that I’ve come here prematurely,

But now that I’m here, I can live again.


Perhaps I should be okay with this reality,

And maybe I can be fine with the reasons that drive it,

But I have to wonder now if I am, really.

I have to wonder if I’ve been cheated somehow.

I can’t say I feel any animosity toward those who put me here,

For this place doesn’t seem to generate negativity,

Whereas the place I came from was full of it, so I’ve heard,

But I know something about the way I’ve come here isn’t fair.


I don’t know how many years have passed since I’ve awoken here.

They say time has no meaning in this place.

But what I’ve learned from my father in this ubiquitous infinity

Is allegedly heartbreaking—it certainly is to him—

Though, I must confess that I don’t know what I’m missing,

Or what opportunities I’ve been denied,

Or what emotions have been stripped from my existence,

Or why such lack of emotion has sent me here in the first place.


All I know is that I had a different body once,

Not yet fully formed, but certainly formed enough.

I did not yet have a voice, but I could still scream.

And scream, I did plenty of in those moments before I came here,

When my body was ripped apart from suctioning,

And my head crushed between two steel clamps,

In the name of women’s right to choose, whatever that’s supposed to mean,

Though I’m sure the people killing me couldn’t quite hear my voice.


–Jeremy Bursey

Just a side note, I know I’m behind on Friday Updates. Haven’t had much news the last couple of weeks. Not sure if I’ll have one tomorrow, either. I’ve been spending a lot of time relearning editing techniques and things, and I want to eventually apply them to some of my existing works. I still have all of my future plans for this site in mind. Sometimes takes a while to get everything together.




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