Do you hear them, too?

By Erica Bennett

I. I know my life will end

Like my voices told me,

At nineteen when I first learned

Someday, I’d die.

 

II. I fear not this time

I have not faded

And hot pink streaks my hair

No ma’am am I.

 

III. My voices speak lively words

Inside my head

Not that I could distinguish them

Until nineteen years went by,

 

IV. When I put pen to paper

Fingertips to keyboard

And spoke their words aloud

For the first time.

 

V. I introduced myself to angry old woman,

Whose guttural English

And sailor mouth

Belie a golden heart.

 

VI. I’ve always wondered

Where the nasty comes from…

But, as long as I let her speak,

Her words on paper, no one is hurt.

 

VII. There is separation in ink

That the spoken word can’t penetrate.

It is as if evidence of worth

Is only in the recording of them.

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