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In first grade, my teacher told me the best way to get rich was to write down all the words I’ve never seen before on pieces of scratch paper and put them into a piggy bank

Since then, I’ve been a collector of words—

Chinese characters on the dusty Beijing street signs

English letters highlighted in children’s books on the thick, soft carpet of the ESL classroom

French conjugations scribbled on an assignment completed five minutes before the start of 5th period

Japanese words discovered in the Digimon character songs and sung offkey in karaoke rooms

And the occasional “schadenfreude” and “hasta la vista, baby”


By junior year of high school, my little piggy was getting fat

And I thought I had enough words to make me a billionaire

But the day I met you, I knew that finally,

Here was a word I’ve never seen before—silence


Silence was your language

It was your word for pain and word for kindness

It was your way of saying “don’t look for me when I am lost” and “keep looking for me, for I am lost”

It was a futile shield against the thorns of words that pierced your armors

And a sword to fight against the demanding light that threatened to pull you from the darkness forever

And it was a leash you put around your own neck

So that when you want to bite the world, you won’t bite too hard before it strangles you


And did you know? The day I learned your language I put it into my piggy bank and it burst

Your silence cracked it open like a dissection

And the belly of the beast shattered with tears that could draw blood from my fingers

And words flowed into sentences and paragraphs and lines and lines of emails and Facebook messages and poetry

And, facing the you huddled next to the English classroom, silence


Maybe, I thought, silence was my language of love

It might have been the ocean connecting and dividing us, flowing rhythmically,

At times crashing deafeningly upon our shores

Sending tsunamis to overwhelm the continent


Maybe, I thought, silence was my language of happiness

It might have been the cast holding me together from bursting

That day when the California sun made it too hot for you to wear your armors

And you asked me to dance with shaking hands


Maybe, just like you, silence was my language of pain and kindness

That night, in my over-long purple dress

Watching you twirl her under the blinking neon lights

It was my way of saying “don’t bother looking for me” and “come find me”

It was a pair of shattered glass slippers that cut into the soles of my feet

So as to save you a beautiful memory, even if I bleed


But maybe, it was nothing at all

For why else did you not understand me when I spoke your tongue?

When I looked at you, sitting side-by-side on the wooden fence,

Why did you look down at the ground as if you wanted to kill all our words and tears and fears and bury them?

Why did you not notice my obliquely conveyed warmth, desperately trying to envelope the cold things and broken places within you?

Why did you not look back?

Why did our eyes never meet?



Why did you let me learn your language, your monotonous language that conveyed no meaning?

Why did you let me cut myself on the sharp edge of my unsent letters?

Why did you let me label you like a word and put you in my dictionary as the definition for love?



The day you told me that there is a reason we have vocal cords

I realized that it wasn’t you who taught me this language:

I knew it all along

It was there, 

In the empty spaces of my piggy bank

And it’s up to me to break it

I wrote this poem a long time ago, but finally decided to finish it today with some encouragement from my boyfriend. :) This is about the importance of communication--something I realized towards the end of high school. Thankfully, in my case, it wasn't too late.

Treasure the people close to you and tell them you love them while you can~
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Estuari Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016
Hey, I know it's September so this is kind of a late comment as I haven't been on this site in a long while, but I loved this poem. I love that phrase "the language of silence". And how in the end, the narrator realizes her mistake and how she taught herself that language. This poem told a wonderful story!
littlecloudflower Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Student Writer
LOL I never come on DA either. I only came on today because there was a beautiful Digimon fanart that I *had* to favorite hahaha.

But thank you <3 This is actually a true story--my story. It's funny because I wrote most of this a few years ago when I was coming to the realization that silence means nothing, but it was only two days after I finished this poem over the summer when I finally got the courage to break the silence. So the last line "and it's up to me to break it" was added 3 years later!
DDRKirbyISQ Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2016
This is really cool...
littlecloudflower Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2016  Student Writer
Haha this is a late reply since I never come on DA anymore, but thank you <3 meow~
DDRKirbyISQ Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2016
It's nice to see you returning to things from your past ^^
littlecloudflower Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2016  Student Writer
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Submitted on
August 21, 2016
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