Tonight the dogs fought,
Sounding all at once
Like a thousand people screaming
And a flight of hundreds of crows taking off,
Their wings smacking the air
All at once in a horrendous cacophony of noise:
This is what violence sounds like.
As my mother cried,
I washed the blood off the wall,
Thinking I’d scrub until I couldn’t hear it anymore-
The sound, for some reason,
That reminded me of the nights I heard
Muffled words behind closed doors
That were unintelligible
But radiated enough heat to make me think
Of rich reds and dark grays;
Not realizing until years later
That this was the sound
Of divorce brewing.
It was the same sound I heard
At the college parties I went to
As a naïve high-school girl:
The dark apartment crowded with noise
Bursting with bass and voices and intoxication
Until somebody opened the door to let some out,
And just left it open, and nobody noticed.
The same as nobody noticed
The girl too young to be there
Drinking too much,
Going upstairs with a guy
Who was too old for her
To be going upstairs with.
It was the same sound I recognized
The time I heard a crash
And realized it was my fender
Bending to fit anothers’,
The sound that reminded me
Of the airbag’s dust on my nose,
Of the fear so strong
That I forgot to put the car in park
so it wouldn’t roll down the hill
as the cab filled up with smoke.
My version of a fairy tale
Is a prince who always comes
When he hears the sound.
Before it splatters all over the wall,
Before the whispers turn into fights,
Before the girl goes upstairs,
Before the cars collide,
He'll be there.
He comes on a white horse he calls Truth,
Armed with golden plates of Courage
And a sword of Serenity
And when he gets there,
He falls to his knees,
And he gives them to me.
“You don’t have to do this alone,”
And I believe him.
We climb onto his white horse called Truth
And ride off into a pink sunset,
Following the sounds of violence
To find broken young girls,
To teach them what Love sounds like,
And how to use their Bravery and Serenity.
We ride through all the land
Bringing the good news
Until there isn’t a soul who hasn’t heard.
And when the sun rises over the mountains,
I'll realize the sound that once rang in my ears is gone,
And I'll lean back in the arms of a prince
Who knows the real meaning
Of happily ever after.