“The Silence of Women”


Old men, as time goes on, grow softer, sweeter,

while their wives get angrier.

You see them hauling the men across the mall

or pushing them down on chairs,

"Sit there! and don't you move!"

A lifetime of yes has left them

hissing bent as snakes.

It seems even their bones will turn

against them, once the fruitful years are gone.

Something snaps off the houselights,

and the cells go dim;

the chicken hatching back into the egg.


Oh lifetime of silence!

words scattered like a sybil's leaves.

Voices thrown into a baritone storm—

whose shrilling is a soulful wind

blown through an instrument

that cannot beat time


but must make music

any way it can.


—Liz Rosenberg, 1994