I started speaking around the age of one. But the words
weren’t very profound, no; they were nothing more
than letters clumped together. Monosyllabic sounds
flowed out of my small brain and lodged themselves
in the air. Around the age of three, I started making sentences,
to the point that I could talk to my neighbors of trivialities:
the weather, the number of fingers on my right hand, the name
of my mother.
“What a bright li’l girl you’ve got here,” they’d say,
and I’d smile, not really knowing what the word meant.
Like a light, like a light?
Mama, dada, ratoon, I play—
these were my first “words” and sentence fragments.
When I turned seven, I was bullied. Two guys in my second grade class
started laughing one day and I didn’t know why.
I stopped speaking for a while. Maybe, I thought,
the words lodged in my throat were meant to stay dormant there.
Maybe I had nothing worth while to say.
Every time we gave speeches in school, I had to ask my mom
to write my speech for me.
I wasn’t lazy, no; I just didn’t have confidence in my words.
I’d stutter and stutter and stutter…
And then one day, I decided to write a speech about Amelia Earheart
and this time, when I went up in front of the class,
I forgot my stutter,
and dropped my notecards,
and let the words go.
Confidence gradually infiltrated into my veins and into my pen
and I began to write—poems, stories, plays—
and I didn’t even know I was writing.
I felt powerful.
Now the words swim inside of me.
I am full;
I am confident.
Mama, dada, ratoon, I play—I don’t know why
I hear these words ringing in my ears.
Primitive words, they return to me
cause now that I’m all grown and all confident and all old I still don’t know what to say.
I’ve acquired an esoteric vocabulary and got
an A on my English paper but I still don’t know what to say.
We are walking
thick, full of words, heavy—but when the definitions disappear
we are lost
I am primitive
I am words crossed out by a teacher’s red pen
I am verb tense confusions, comma splices,
…..RED, RED, RED,
……..frag-ment-ed. → sentence fragment (consider revising)