We knew it already
knew without being told
felt the weight of the knowing
as we ate our cereal in front of the television
which wasn’t usually allowed.
that the world would never be the same again
even while we argued
over Razzle Dazzle and the Mickey Mouse Club
(I hated Annette, and Howard the turtle
the noises from the other room
the silences from the other room
the voices that we could hear
ebbing and falling
meant nothing good.
So I silently wiped up the milk you’d spilt.
You put all the cushions I’d thrown at you
back on the couch.
put back the pieces
watched TV shows we weren’t allowed.
We put the pieces back together
or at least we tried.
At the tight-lipped dinner table
pass the peas scrape of forks on plates
the only sounds
cleared our plates
without being told.
but had no way of knowing
what it meant.
Frances Boyle’s most recent poetry collection is This White Nest (2019). She has also written two fiction books, Tower and Seeking Shade (forthcoming 2020). Frances’s writing has appeared throughout North America and in the UK, including recently: The New Quarterly, Queen’s Quarterly, Twist in Time, Poetry Birmingham, and Funicular. www.francesboyle.com