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Nick Adamcik

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Oklahoma City, OK, US

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Family Ties

by

Nick Adamcik

They are talking behind my back now.
Back then, a child, I could not say that.
Some fears a child does not possess
Or cannot utter,

Like a fear of silence, or terror
In the frayed thong of an old swing rope
Cut down in fall before winter freeze,
Used then to bind wrists.

Then to bind wrists and itch and freeze hands,
While I, in dark, strained
To listen to frayed shouting, a whisper,
Something I hear now.

Now I hear, but it's a whisper now
From behind my back,

Shouts, that goddamn kid; then she screamed,
Much louder than his shouts, then as now,
Screaming out to him and me back then,
Not words, just, nothing.

Now their voices from behind my back
Compel me, now as then, to attend
With the same numb fear of itching rope,
But no patient grace

That winter heeds both autumn and spring.
My hands are free now, but frayed like bark,
And every sound's a mumble to me.
Winter revisits

As a phrase I must often rehear,
A fear I relearn.

A whisper behind my back now sometimes,
Phrases I often must hear in all voices,
As surely as winter revisits the fall,
As winter must freeze all ropes and all hands.