ORIGINAL POEM: Held Tongue
HELD TONGUE

by Ada Hoffmann


The words that I wanted would hurt me. Mouth-bullets,

jack-in-the-boxing out of my skin.

I would shout them and bleed from the chickenpox holes

where they tore their way out. I have dug

for too long in my innards, a prospector

tearing things out for display. (My spleen

is nicely framed in teak against the window.)

Today I will sit on my hands

and be whole. I will not disturb

the surface pressure of silence.

Breath fills this body

enough, empties enough. You and I

will not be torn again today.


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