Lost Voice

by Sabine Lee


I hate it when I can’t write.


I instruct myself

To let my fingers fumble on 

The keyboard, but I can’t

Bear to let that happen because I seek


Over the syntax, the similes, the diction

And the voice that gallops towards the reader


Because I never felt freedom

until I wrote, and let my voice soar.

The liberation, the satisfaction that bloomed

When my arrows struck the page.

All syntax precise, a miraculous solace

That left me soothed and blessed.


But now I strangle myself with lofty standards and

Muffle the voice that I’ve tried so hard

To convert to flame, 

An old life in the dark, burning behind.

I want to swallow the ashes of my former voice

And scrawl enchanting hymns and whimsical chants

But - but its grieving echo bursts my ears

And claws at my throat.


And the past cannot be retrieved

As the pain I felt, once recalled,

Is discovered to be shallow,

Since I scrubbed it onto paper 

From the spongy, soggy marrow. 


So I cannot write something whole, 

Pen something completely absolute

In spirit and structure, with the essence of home.

So I swipe desperately to capture

All the seasons in a mesh net of lines,

To trap the glimmering fireflies of words.


But when I part my lips

All that bursts out is a sputtering cough, and no substance

remains in the dripping, acrid spit.

And a windy silence howls from the hoarse and strained throat

From which wheezes a tattered voice, 

a necrotic tongue and a mute mouth,

As I guzzled down the cinnamon ashes,

To just recover that far-flung voice.


And - god, dear lord - I don’t even know 

If I can summon the strength

To even write any longer.

Because my dumb self mistook the twine noose

For a pretty ribbon choker, and 

Suffocated the past with bramble rope


Just to give me some semblance

Of control.


(Oh, the irony…)

Nov.18KCL Creative Writing