Monday, April 28, 2014

echolalia: on voice, again, by Elizabeth Hassler

[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
is forever

best sung on borrowed rhythms:
rushing winds and pocked half
-moons and the stuttered

enunciations of a rising tide.

~Elizabeth Hassler


  1. Elizabeth, this is great!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. My apologies for the removal of the comment.
    I had wanted to add something to what I had
    said previously, which was your work is
    "beautiful and moving". I wanted to add,