The History of Speech
Those ancients on the riverbank
or moan to death throes. They knew
sounds for news meant to be heard.
They did not hear the snake
whisper its passage through tall grass
until they had seen shed skins
in the dry rustle of left behind.
The old women showed younger ones
how to nuzzle in their babies’ neck skin,
how to purr and sniff at the folds and rolls
that boasted of fatness against winter.
Beneath warm coverings of night
as sparkling fires of sap wood popped,
they spooned into each other
and drew out murmurs of stretched peace.
Oh, there were warnings
high-pitched and loud.
Whinings of fatigue.
The sobs of mourning.
Calls to move again
in the m-m-m-m of throats
that know living beyond lingering,
brilliance beyond stars.
Poet’s Notes: I have a voice disability, spasmodic dysphonia, which tends to come on in later decades of a person's life. I have been thinking a great deal about speech and talk and communication.
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