[Image: Word cloud that holds the poem below, in reddish lip form.]
echolalia: on voice, again
You talked me into
the inside of your heart, using your lips
to mask strange diction. These were
cadences I'd only heard
in movies, before. And I was meant
to diagram the dangers in your mouth?
You loved me, you said; you loved
people with disabilities. You knew
the word transfer, no
matter the assumptions
you would make about my disabled
voice. Of course I knew
yours was a cruel dialect,
but I loved to learn a language
and build skill in my tongue.
Some days, I could speak as you
better than myself---
We both know life is pain,
girl. I'm brilliant. Don't
you think I'm brilliant? You're here now;
I'm not allowed to die.
(And other phrases that forced me
to talk you down
from the bridge of
your mouth.) I held
your mouth to my lips,
while your mouth drank the sea.
of inflection, I hold taken voices
between my teeth. My mouth is easily talked into
certain accents, and I wonder
how best to hold your tongue
years later. This, because my voice
best sung on borrowed rhythms:
rushing winds and pocked half
-moons and the stuttered
enunciations of a rising tide.