If These Walls Could Talk


They would deliberate on a host
of topics—No experimenting with silence
the truth having a field day
with the truth?— Boasting a Ph.D
in paleography! On a first-name basis,
blathering it out with the candor
of a clock. If they would just say it,
get on with it, we all might just
primp and preen, varnish the sashes
and doors—Move forward.
          The whitewashed coroner
of quiet heaves a gasp and a sigh—
A justified homicide? Fingerprints everywhere
on the whitewash, until Sunday’s suppositions
cheat us again with a wrongful death.
Recondite paint chips will give riveting
          testimony, someday.
Break promises! Smash the vase’s crisp
Tulips like a face crying in the rain.
Collapsed like a pyramid scheme
gone bad. The neighbors will
tip-toe across their covenant of lawns,
          mute the volume and peek
out the blinds. Listen to the babel, holes darkle—
Leaky faucets and children, closed doors.
Tweeting these dimpled photos
          casting out our shame,
honking and waving to a throng.
Selling and telling our susurrus of pain
to an anonymous listener
who never even had to leave home.



Cynthia AtkinsCynthia Atkins is the author of Psyche’s Weathers and In The Event of Full Disclosure (CW books, 2013). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including, Alaska Quarterly Review, BOMB, Cleaver Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Del Sol Review, Florida Review, Green Mountains Review, Harpur Palate, Hermeneutic Chaos, Le Zaporogue, North American Review, Poetry Fix, Prairie Schooner, Seneca Review, Tampa Review, Valparaiso Review and Verse Daily, and nominated for a 2013, 2014, and 2015 Pushcart Prize. She is formerly the assistant director for the Poetry Society of America, and has taught English and Creative Writing, most recently, at Virginia Western Community College. Atkins earned her MFA from Columbia University and has earned fellowships and prizes from Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, The Writer’s Voice and Writers@Work. She lives on the Maury River of Rockbridge County, VA with artist, Phillip Welch and their family.