I didn’t want to be late, but whoops. Here’s day thirty of Shadow of May. The question asked was: How do I listen? How do I speak?
I learned when young not to listen
To the other kids on the playground-
I was in second grade, aged just eight.
I was tongue-tied – I was born
With my tiny tongue fused to the bottom
Of my mouth, all my words were locked
On its tip, which I couldn’t lift.
They didn’t know, my parents,
The teachers, or classmates. I was slow
And special. They listened just enough
To know I wasn’t right in my words. I learned
I wasn’t right in my words,
And every day I felt betrayed by them
When they tumbled helplessly awkward
From my mouth. I had tried to explain myself
In all those uncertain and clumsy sounds
That I knew, but didn’t trust.
I became so aware of all the little sounds
I made and didn’t. Short tongued and short
Tempered, and ashamed I fought or ignored
Everyone who tried to laugh at or limit
They cut my tongue free.
Forced it upwards and disconnected me
From what I had become, but in the end,
Ultimately, I had already been taught I could only
Listen quietly to the people around me, and I
Seemed so wise in my silence, that by the time
I was a young adult I was asked often to give counsel,
To give my opinion, my secretly clumsy, distrustful Words,
And I, every time, feel deep anxiety blossoming,
Blooming under my tongue, waiting and fearing
I’d give it wrong.