You wonder if you’ve ever experienced silence. At night, you hear the trees,
Clawing desperately for purchase at your window; in the space
Between your walls, you can hear the house slowly crumble,
The termites gnawing at the beams to satisfy insatiable hunger.
You can hear, unsettlingly, the pulse of your heart, its echo
Reverberating in your ears, and you wonder, when your father leaves

(and it is a when, not an if like she’d like to pretend), when he leaves,
If she will still lie awake, imagining the shadows of the moon through the trees
To be his sillohuette; if every creak of the floorboards will still be the echo
Of his footfalls. Sometimes you imagine you are in the vacuum of space,
In a vortex of perfect silence, away from his anger, his hunger
For something more, for some illusion that always seems to crumble

Beneath the weight of his expectations. You’ve seen your mother crumble,
Sworn you’ve heard her heart break, a sound like dry leaves
Crushed beneath a careless heel. In the mornings, devoid of hunger,
You’d push your eggs around your plate, the birds in the trees
Competing with your mother’s humming; she sings to fill the space
Between them, the screech of his fork across the plate an empty echo

In lieu of conversation. In the kichenette, her song echoes;
Every every utensil reverberates, alive with her singing, threatening to crumble
With the sad desperation of it. She asks, does he have space
For one more, just one more cup of coffee, and follows him to the door as he leaves
Without a kiss, without even a proper goodbye. Only the trees
Wave to her as he drives away, leaving her with an emptiness worse than hunger.

There is a bitterness in your throat, a ringing in your ears, a consuming hunger
In your belly that aches, the way you know his does. You are his echo,
Daddy’s little girl, and you understand the itch beneath his nails, like the trees
Scraping against the glass of your window; in your dreams, you see your life crumble
Into nothingness, into mundanity, into the emptiness you see in her eyes, and when he leaves,
You will not blame him. You will step aside, and watch as the space

Between you grows irrepairably far. You are Daddy’s little girl, and his space
In your heart cannot be filled, nor can the gaping hole in hers. The hunger
Will always be there, threatening to consume you; it will never be satisfied, never leave,
And neither will you. In the empty chambers of your heart, your mother’s voice echoes
In the void he is destined to leave – I love you, I love you. The clouds crumble
At the touch of your finger as you reach desperately higher, like the trees.

In your dreams, you are a tree, and your mother collects your falling leaves
as they crack and crumble in her hands. The dream echoes in the space in your heart
He left behind — you love her, you still hunger, but you have grown roots.