grandfather and grandson sitting in a forest and drinking from the tin cups
Byron Hoot

I have broken my vow
a few times today,
the one living alone
gives, the vow
of silence.  I go out of my
way to break it when I
can – a call, a word to
a stranger.  The vow
does not include interior
monologues and dia-
logues – these are not
negotiable.  Some days
there are no other voices
needed, some days, like
today, I need to speak,
to hear, to churn the words
to the meanings – however
small – they hold.  Sometimes
I need to hear for that other
vow to be known, the one
that says if I hear I will
be heard: cross my heart,
hope to die, I’ve heard
those words spoken.