Origin of a Silenced Voice

carpentry tools on wooden table

I make a sound and point. “Oh, you want this?” Mom asks, then takes whatever I point to down. Be it a can of corn, string beans, a favorite toy. I don’t speak until I’m four.

closed window
oaks above the house
sway and sway

I try to hold a hammer and nail, or a screw and screwdriver, or a handsaw and wood. Dad corrects me, saying, “let the tool do the work,” or “pay attention,” or “let me show you.” He then does the job himself, after he relocates the tools I once held safely out of my reach.

missing nail
keeping his carpentry
skills to himself

Sister Bernadette’s icy stare. My sudden self-consciousness, as I realize I, alone, am the only child in the pre-kindergarten classroom still talking. A surging guilt morphes into shame.

orange leaves
sitting still and quiet
‘til it hurts


photo by Sneaky Elbow


Frank J. Tassone

Frank J. Tassone lives in New York City's "back yard" with his wife and son. He fell in love with writing after he wrote his first short story at age 12 and his first poem in high school. He began writing haiku and haibun seriously in the 2000s. His haikai poetry has appeared in Failed Haiku, Cattails, Haibun Today, Contemporary Haibun Online, Contemporary Haibun, The Haiku Foundation and Haiku Society of America member anthologies. He is a contributing poet for the online literary journal Image Curve, and a performance poet with Rockland Poets. When he's not writing, Frank works as a special education high school teacher in the Bronx. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys time with his family, meditation, hiking, practicing tai chi and geeking out to Star Wars, Marvel Cinema and any other Sci-Fi/Fantasy film and TV worth seeing.

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