Words I thought I’d never own line my lexicon.
In the mirror, down a tunnel,
I can see the marks of long walks in the dark,
fingerprints on the language I am speaking.
I choke back the chorus
of a life I’ve denounced;
in every speech twists a past I deny–
Who could call me a liar?
I could – you could.
You say I make you uncomfortable.
My voice has been the unpleasant hiss
of words with their throats cut,
dying alone and unused.
My sound bleeds into yours
and you do not know why
but you pull away.
Time stitched the wound,
rewove the vocal cords tangled in filth,
but the rasp of a ruined song
stains whatever I say
and you hear me like a dog hears
a stranger in the yard.
I have been taught imperceptible dialects.
I have addressed the stars
in their crushed and strangled tones.
Of course you are uncomfortable.
When I speak you hear the echo
of an old tongue falling dead.
You see the map and pathmarks
of where I’ve been.
Be a coward and run when the flood comes.
An empty mouth will steal whatever thought fills yours.