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By Sean Caluori March 25, 2021

A Festering of Hidden Messages

They are in the gap between her thighs

And the craters in her collarbone,

As her tears caress the scale

Around the soles of her feet.


Or in the golden ring, once perfectly fitted,

Sitting too loose on his finger.

Now glimmering amongst the

Cigarette butts by his bed.


Perhaps they are in the final breath

Escaping his lips, pressed to

His grandchild’s knuckles,

A gentle whisper against her skin.

His eyes flutter shut.


They happen in the silence before

She says, “I do,” her gaze not once

Leaving the maid of honour.

She doesn’t - not with a man -

But no objection comes.

Her parents could never know.


And those dreaded empty boxes,

Waiting to be checked off:

☐Male or ☐female?

“None,” they cry.

Then there are the big spaces:

Wage gaps and

Social hierarchies and

Systemic distancing from the Other.

The separation between us and…     “Them.”

All unveiling the cracks in society.


But spaces are even more.

They are parks, watching

As a toddler strolls on by,

Returning one day to rock climb

And share his first kiss

Until he comes back years later

His own son in his arms.


They are kitchens without food,

And exist in the split second before

A father’s angry fist meets a young girl.

A broken plate. Blood seeping

Through gaps in the floorboards.

A shard of fine china

Against her ivory skin.

She knows this house is not her home.


And then there’s my room.

Always there, each and every day.

A constant,

Even with how much we’ve changed.

From curiosity to

Fear of the unknown.

From stashing candy

To hiding skirts.

Posters of girls

To sketches of boys.

Teeth under pillows

To phones under blankets.

Pennies in a piggy bank

To stacks of cash in Daddy’s

Emptied Montecristo box

To credit cards and debt.


A bedroom and

A playground and

A safe zone (somewhere

To cower from names

Thrown in school corridors,

Or the yells booming downstairs.)

And a classroom - or lack thereof -

Forgetting the sound of conversation,

The silence is deafening.


But on the right, a window.

A connection between us all.

A world outside, seemingly

Unreachable, further than the stars.

Still, I look to the moon

Just beyond my grasp.

A whole galaxy, with the

Potential to be transformed.


On the left, a dusty piano untouched

For years. Melodies forgotten.

A bookcase collecting

Awards since kindergarten.

In the far back, a rainbow flag.

A desk, sheltering cracked mirrors,

Razor blades and knives,

Turned to on dire days

When my heart is void and

My thoughts are endless -

An assembly line of pain.

Blinking into the darkness

That engulfs my very being.

Where I do not have to pretend

To be less broken.

In a space void of all else,

I am able to find myself.

It is here that I create

The distance between these words:

In my space, personally adapted to

All aspects of who I am.

About the author

Sean Caluori is currently a 2nd year student in the Commerce program. His passion for writing began at the age of 9, and he has not stopped creating poetry since. 

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