Between

C.K. Stead

Twirling an angry necklace on her fingers under the
    lamp she was saying she couldn’t stand her
teachers or her mother or her life and on the other
    couch her mother who said she had sulked all
afternoon was saying ‘Why hasn’t anyone any
     pity for me?’ and that she was so tired
she could scream and scream and scream. Sorry for them both I said
    nothing, knowing if silence wouldn’t help
it couldn’t make anything worse. Impossible to read
      while the air was so loud with their angers.
One channel upstairs was offering a Midlands saga
    of poverty and heartbreak, the other
a Californian police drama with jokes and canned
    laughter. Then the row stopped. They were gone each
to her room and I could hear a tap dripping, and the cat
    snuffling after fleas, and a car cruising
down the Crescent, and what might have been stifled sobbing from
   behind one of those closed doors. I know how
Passion always gets a good press and why it should be so
    but have you ever thought of Reason as
the neglected child of our time? The cat has come to rest
     on my lap and my ears are growing out
like vines into the spaces of silence beyond the pear
     tree in blossom between the dark houses.