Not so bad, I thought for a while—
these quiet hours, newly found.
But after a year, it became a trial.
I’ll go mad, my thoughts. For a while
I missed strangers’ smiles
and strained to hear hushed sounds.
It got so loud inside,
these quiet hours, newly found.
My thoughts go round and round,
my mind, a stranger, for a while.

Charlotte Milholland Friedman is a poet, memoirist and author (The Girl Pages, Hyperion). She teaches Narrative Medicine in the English Department at Barnard College, Columbia University. Her poetry has been published in Light, Connecticut River Review, Intima, Unearthed, Waterwheel Review and elsewhere. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.