You gave me my voice back,
in an instant.
I screamed loudly as we tumbled over
into an abyss of wordlessness:
the only place
where I can still be found.
In the silence of a night
reserved for better things than talking,
you gave me my voice back.
At first I didn’t even recognize it as my own.
What a strange sound that bird makes,
I would like to be as happy.
To chirp as wantonly as that.
Then you looked at me funnily and said,
The neighbors are laughing.
You might want to tone it down a notch.
Then you kissed me and I knew you didn’t mind
the sudden articulation
of what I’d been keeping inside since
my grade teacher warned me that,
You know, girls shouldn’t be as vocal.
No one will want to marry an outspoken girl like you.
A few years later, a man chastised me
that enjoying oneself should not be done
with such fanfare,
so I took both their advice
and taught myself the art of
Until I found my voice again,
who so freely asked what it was I thought
on the matters of consumer culture
then asked if I prefer vinegar to lemon juice
who laughed at my darkest jokes,
who, like a medical professional
(I so sorely needed),
doctored a seemingly insignificant sexual act
to be a means by which I could regain my freedom.
I like your voice, you whispered as we were falling asleep.
The tick-tock of the clock was the only sound
to penetrate the moment.
You’d better, I sleepily replied.
You’re the one who gave it to me,
Perhaps, you mused.
But you know…it’s what you do with it,
That really counts.
Having regained a part of myself
that should’ve been
lost for good,
it seemed as if I owed my new-found freedom
a space to flex its muscles
and build up the strength it lacked,
a consequence of
being uncomfortably boxed
into my subconscious for too long.
Tomorrow I’ll join a debate team,
Tonight, I want to be silent, with you,
and listen to the time passing,
and not talk, but not sleep either.
That’s what freedom is, after all.
Not making the same choice every time.
The voice you gave me won’t disappear
if I don’t use it for a night.
We lay mute like that, for a long time,
but eventually sleep overtook you.
Some things can’t be helped, I guess.
I half-broke our agreement, too.
Took out a pen and pencil,
let my new voice run loose.
On the first page of a notebook,
the one you always leave blank,
I wrote this and titled it