Certain people give me a stutter.
When I was little I had to go to speech therapy
because I liked to switch all my letters around. My dad’s co-workers
still tease me about wanting to go see “da pishes in da tond”.
But therapy worked wonders and soon I talked
so much I could use all the air in the room
if I wasn’t careful. “You talk too much, too loud, too something,”
Renee always said. I’m pretty sure older sisters come
with a default setting of being annoyed no matter what. I remember
reading about an ancient people who tried to reach heaven with a tower
instead of grace. Obviously they weren’t far off if God cursed them as
they got too close to touching the sky. And what a curse it was!
Some time ago I learned that most my thoughts are spoken
to No one in particular. And No one in particular responds,
“Who were you talking to again?” Do any words hurt more
than your own when they fall flat into the air without anyone
being willing to pick them up, dust them off and give them
a gentle smile? Instead, they just decay there, discarded like
an old doll in a landfill thrown away because
another girl became a woman and stopped pretending
people listen. Instead we learn to keep saying the same phrase
we’ve heard others say before because someone laughed at it once
and maybe this time it will make them like you. I watched a show
about a girl who was strong enough to fight all the demons but her own.
Even cracked and chipped she held the weight of
a world of nightmares. There was a creature that stole everyone’s voices.
No one could cry for help as he cut their heart out. “Can’t call Mom.
Can’t say a word. You’re gonna die screaming but you won’t be heard.”
I still have dreams that my voice has been ripped away
and I have something that needs to be said but no
sound comes out or worse my mouth is so full of chewing gum
that no matter how much I try to spit it out I'm choking. I can't speak.
But now I'm not dreaming and still
we walk around silent as our hearts
are slowly cut away. Hour by hour for an hourly wage we are
sliced open. Is there a point to screaming? Not in our world.
No one listens anyway. Can you even hear me?
“Go to, let us go down and confound
their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
Are we not all confounded still? How foolish to think that you
could build salvation. But you just continue to try. Eventually
all the towers fall and you remain babbling. We spend our lives chattering
and call it conversation like mockingbirds
mimicking sounds without understanding the words. Atticus
said it was a sin to kill a mockingbird because
all they ever do is give beautiful music
without asking for anything in return. But
the great Atticus Finch was wrong even if just this once.
All we ever do is take, build, fill and talk but never give.
Like my father always said, “Nothing’s truly free.” and even
though there’s music playing all I know is
the Mockingbird steals its song from somewhere.