My wife doesn’t wake from sleep over her own dying—a lifetime of God and combat. Brother after brother turned to the bottle.
If only blackbirds knew they were dying—blackbirds have so much to say. Everyone before me has somehow managed to age.
Every prayer must begin with silence. I’ve given up. My daughter calls her therapist her listening friend.
This is Missouri—but therapy is only fashionable among coastal five year-olds. Each week in the waiting room, our wounds are the most covered. Our clothes the most crisply washed.
I’ve wasted so much time. Her listening friend tries to unwrap the skin slowly scarring—the mother who left and still won’t choose her. A child’s wounds are written in a silent language you carry in your eyes and mouth.
You know how some things only happen to other people? Like the silence of birth or orgasms? This language is that.
Every prayer must begin. At 24, I swallowed three bottles of pills, woke up on my bedroom floor a day later. I never told anyone. This language is like that.
The sound I carry in my teeth was born in me: I’ve eaten it and I’ve found it as if it waited for me.
A stranger tries to explain God’s love in the grocery store. This is Missouri. She says God loves me how I love my children only more.
I’d like to tell the stranger about language, about a child screaming when a mother doesn’t come on visit day, how silence can scratch like nails on wet skin.