What if our pain made a sound?
A stubbed toe would be a brief,
but intense, burst of static.
A cold might sound like the slow
steady rumble of a bumble bee.
A broken heart could range from
the lonely wail of a train in the distance
to a long steady thrumming, like an
We would no longer need to ask
if someone we knew was in pain,
we would just know.
Depressed people (with their
characteristic mellow foghorn)
would be apparent, and we could be aware.
Everyone could get the help they need.
There would be no stigma, no shame
for the pain of some invisible, painful disease.
People would say,
“Oh, honey, you must have Lupus
(Wind blowing, softly or a hurricane, depending on the day)
or Rheumatoid Arthritis,
(the hum of hummingbirds buzzing angrily about a body part)
(the squeak or rattle of tree branches rubbing together)
and we would know just by the sound
of their pain.
How long would it take, I wonder,
to learn to muffle our pain,
hide what we feel,
disguise who we are?