malheureux | a transgenerational poem

silence has its own language

silence is in this house

in his eyes

in her folded hands

in the way he moves from room to room

in the reasons she turns her back


a knife in her hand

tearing the peel off

tearing it off

the skin

her own


he is busy as well

the good body has something to do

he is filled to the brim

he doesn’t need a knife

he cuts open

with his bare hands

his dead hands

they work hard

to reclaim life

the one he was cheated out of

the one he offered



these bodies create

and destroy

he writes his crimes into a wardrobe

the size of six lying men

everything he could have been

had he known better

but he writes and writes his life

onto paper

the unforgotten blood

onto paper

memories building towers

every letter means a word unspoken

every letter means silence

in this house

repentance in the wardrobe

there is no such thing as a new skin

the old one sticks

the old one knows

it’s in his bones

it’s in one bottle after another

teenage war

and she pulls herself together

unclaimed doll

above the kitchen sink

survival choreography

she knows it well

she locked herself away

makes coffee

makes food

careful with the spices

makes herself invisible

so that he won’t notice her

gives him food for every form of hunger

silence conceals the true nature of this house

silence stands still

and smiles for a snapshot

silence is an earthquake

silence comes to bite

and the dead beg at the windowsills

they are in our house

one to shed them all

one to yearn for them

she cuts so she won’t hear

and he finds what he’s looking for

in this house

My own drawing © Laura Gentile 2022 | Instagram: croque_melpomene

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s