His Lost Voice, #236

One can lose it
somewhere like a sock,
leave it behind in the wash,
in the pocket
of a old pair of pants
that sits at the bottom
of a basket
of laundry for too many days
until when it comes back
it is almost too stinky to keep.

One can keep it in the corner
of the room
you work in everyday,
a trophy like a mask
or old chair that you love
and remember
wearing to a party
a few years back
that created such
great memories
that out of the corner
of your eye
you wish to constantly
be reminded,
in the vaguest sense,
of the drunk beauty
of that night.

One can certainly
hand it over
to a new lover, a trinket
to keep them linked
together, even when apart,
a necklace or bouquet
of roses to remind
the insecure
of what meaning
love can have, and that they
who now have my voice
have value. “Keep it”
will be the last words
spoken, “Keep it
so that you know I love you.”

One could send the voice
away to college,
to school back east
to round out its knowledge
and grow up a bit,
to gain qualification
and prerequisites
to come home
a better person,
ready to run a company
or local school,
to be a great leader.
For those years you’d be
quite quiet,
and even later never sound
quite like yourself,
an off note in the accent.

One could accidently
say something terrible
in a rage or moment
of thoughtlessness
that could be taken
as insult,
the voice huffing off
into another room,
sitting in the corner
with the door locked
or pacing the floor,
brow furrowed
and muttering
underneath its breath,
only returning after being
coaxed out
by endless empty promises.

The two of you could
simply grow apart,
so slowly
even the spiders
making art
out of the unused corners
of your apartment
didn’t see it coming.
The two of you just
don’t talk anymore,
and when you do,
not with the depth
and intensity,
the sincerity for so long
you had mastered.

The voice has grown up
now and moved on.
It has a family of its own
and spends days quietly
humming on the back porch
or marching around
the house
picking up things to fold
and wash and throw
in the hamper.
It rarely thinks of you
and never speaks,
not out of some malice
or anger,
simply out of the fact
that the voice
without you
is not the same
as the voice with you,
the two of you
were for so long
inseparable, your love
a conquering force
to overcome
whatever petty
nervousness the day
had laid at your feet
and now, when the day
wins on a daily basis,
no reason exists
for the two of you to talk.
And so you will go through
your life a timid animal,
always stuttering
and looking
for the right thing
to say, for
the good word
or the right nuance,
always coming up short.
Everything you ask for
will not be what you get,
not due to some
angry God
or trickster devil, but
your own inability
to ask properly
for what you properly want.

One can be lost on the shoals
of many islands, on the shores
of an always rolling
and innocent looking sea,
and perhaps it is not
the voice that is lost.
No,the voice could be
at home, making
the commute
to work and back,
paying the bills
and spending the time
in between
in an easy chair
lip reading.

The body, the spirit,
perhaps that is what is lost.
But the tyrannical brain
who can not accept a notion
that it itself could be removed
from the body,
that it itself could be the source
of the issue, that it could be
the one who needs
to get out of the way, that brain
has thought such
dangerous notions,
such evil things
that one must have
always expected the voice
would leave, it was only
a matter of time really.

I can not live forever
in this house father,
can not go one begging
and demanding you
take me seriously
if you are then
going to be the only one
doing the talking,
berating me
for all my shortcomings,
which are not
my shortcomings
but yours,
which are not my angers
and demons,
but yours. It was you
who spent every moment
of every day imagining
another time and place,
another life and another love.
She didn’t leave
because of her own
idiosyncrasies, but because
of something you said,
or something
you should have said.
We didn’t grow to resent you
for working too much,
although that is what we said.
No, we grew to resent
that the only words
coming out of your mouth
were spoken
out of anger or frustration,
that you had no voice
but this voice,
that you said to us nothing
but all the anger you had built up.
Where did you voice go?
Where did you lose it?

A voice can be gunned down
in the heat of war and so
could be on the shores of Tripoli,
or left back home and so
could be on the tarred over
grass of Ebbet’s Field.
A voice can be locked
in the marriage it first
spoke alliance to,
and if so,
is lost forever to me,
child of something much later.
Or perhaps you simply
misplaced it,
as somedays I do my keys,
and so you are hoping
that someone will find it,
recognize some distinguishing
characteristic and return
it back to you.
Then, and perhaps only then,
when you and I both
have our voices
firmly back in our hands,
maybe then we can finally speak.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

One thought on “His Lost Voice, #236

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