Winter Afternoon

Once upon a time,
I’d drown out this silence
with the volume
cranked to a noisy ten.
How I dreaded
any afternoon spent alone.
My self-worth
came from the validation
given by others.
These rooms I filled with
people shouting to
be heard above the music.
But now my home
is cleaner and more plain.
The silence feared
is not haunted after all.
It has a voice:
the gush of furnace heat,
reminders from
a chiming mantel clock,
that teakettle’s
insistent summoning.
This late in life,
companionship’s allure
is not required to
insure my contentment.
Just hot chocolate.

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