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
(Oh, the irony…)