Kate Da Lew
Every Machine Gunned Word (Stutter)
Every machine gunned word from my mouth is evidence of their failure. Tongue spattering against clenched teeth, syllables splayed in two, blood dripping down my chin, watching them watch me,
forced twin smiles ripped in half, clenched teeth, clenched fists, clenched teeth, clenched fists.
Weary heads nodding along to the clips and starts, eyes blurring, hoping to reveal a prettier picture– my mother took me to classes after school waiting with other dumbstruck kids.
The room filled with distractions anything to keep the hands occupied. Limit speech,
my life has been stutters and stumbles to compensate, afraid to say what I want when nothing comes easy. I’ve managed to become nothing, and been so slow doing it– but what have I done to them? This beautiful little girl they once had, reduced to close lipped mutterings.
This beautiful little girl grown up, unable to look anyone in the eye, afraid to see the pity, the nervous laughter. I will never give an acceptance speech, never wave at my mother, my father from a stage. All my words have bled out, there’s nothing to reward, and all I am is afraid. Curled up
inside myself, waiting for the gunfire to die down–hands grasp mine, old hands, tired hands, veins coursing with matching blood. We three are dying together, felled at the knees and I’m sorry.
If only I could tell you. If only my lips could form the notes–the rat a tat tat of consonants and
vowels hits your chest, leaves blood like a star over those old hearts, those tired hearts–I didn’t want to fail. I wanted to give you something, anything at all. If my breath would only fill my lungs completely for just a moment, I could tell you what I’ve been saving.