In the Quiet Hour

In the quiet hour
we sit cross-legged
on the hardwood floor
in a soundproofed room
of white-walled plaster.

In the quiet hour
our Monitors turn
off the air conditioning
and it grows warmer.

In the quiet hour
we are never allowed
any distractions:
no videos, no music,
no games, no texts.

In the quiet hour
we are forbidden
to communicate with
others in any way.

In the quite hour
we try to find marks
the trowel has left
on the plaster walls,
only to discover there
are no marks in their
blinding whiteness.
In the quiet hour
we search for flaws
in the polished floor,
only to realize that
each board has been
perfectly aligned.

In the quiet hour
we can look inside
the treacherous terrains
of interior landscapes,
knowing full well that
our Monitors, alien
telepaths one and all,
follow every twist and
turn of our thoughts.

In the quiet hour
those who violate rules
we have yet to understand
are taken from the room
by force and never return
for the next session.

In the quiet hour
we are not safe
and it is seldom
quiet for long.

Appapered in Asimov's SF