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Poet’s note: I am just coming out of a migraine that I had for the second half of the day (over 6 hours anyway). So this is late by 40 minutes but I technically started it early the morning of Jan. 10, so it counts. And you don’t really want to read what I was working on while in the depths of the Dantesque “Inferno” that is my migraine-state-of-mind.

Impediment

Laura asked, “Why are you a poet?”
It’s compulsory, I said, not because
I want to write; I cannot avoid it.

Long before I could hold a pen,
When I was little, I lugged a clunky
Tape recorder around our huge house;
I found an empty outlet and plugged
It in and pressed the chunky buttons
To record made-up poems and stories,
Read books about mammals aloud;
My toddler brother and I made gory
Cassettes with “haunted sound effects”
Then re-played them to entertain us.

In my thirties, once, as a failed
Experiment, I attended a support
Group (what happens in Anxiety Club,
Stays in Anxiety Club); a last resort,
Hoping to meet like-minded veterans
Of the literary profession, but this
Backfired. Novices, triology-obsessed
Novelists, trichotillomaniacs.

Compelled the way some people
Chew pens or eat paper, I have a literal
Fixation with words. I chew on them.
Verbs click against my teeth; marbles
Big glass shooters, and little onionskins,
Cane-cut swirls, blue specks of mica
Suspended in spheres of crashed glass
The speech therapist in elementary
School pulled me out of math class
And beseeched me to recite a
Sentence over and over in my sweetly
Crooked mouthfuls, I’d enunciate
To overcome a girlish lisp.

I still have it.

Tangible details—these are the closest
I’ll get to wearing braces; tight prose
Retains better than a paper clip,
Jammed like pretend orthodontics
I wore in 6th grade to assimilate.
My dentist—out of sympathy,
Explained, “I’d have to break
Your jaw twice a year. There’s
No permanent solution to fix
Genetic cross-bite like yours.”

Every other syllable

Slips

like drool

between

Partially sealed lips,
Deformed and thin as baleen
Stretched off-center, between
Rosy, frost-bitten cheeks.

This is what it’s like
Talking with marbles
In your mouth.

No wonder I write.

Leah

Poet. Artist. Ecoheroine. Human ecologist. Spiritual mermaid and Mystic. I write about literary ecology, wetlands, water, Romantic ecology, and quirky adventures with my dog.

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