As a bundle of hay, when carried,
becomes heavier and heavier,
so it is with words we swallow.
They begin, light as the leaf
of a forget-me-not, light as
a golden straw of hay, just a hair
heavier than breath. But the longer
the words go unsaid and the more
of them we swallow,
the more they gain weight,
the more they cripple us unspeaking ones,
and soon it is as if we had swallowed a bed
of river stones. Sometimes
we can no longer move at all,
so burdened we become. Sometimes
it takes a complete falling apart
to release all that weight, all those
pent words. No one wants this, of course,
some great spilling. The gaping wound.
The chaos. The words, and the fear
wrapped around them, exposed.
But it is not so bad as we think.
Sometimes, once bare to the sun
and clear air, the words break out
of the calcified layers
and we see them for all they are,
tiny boxes into which
we pack our worst fears, our dreams,
our anger, our desire, our bliss. We open
the boxes and whatever inside has not
turned to dust grows wings,
and our mouths open, perhaps in awe, perhaps
wishing they’d fly back in.
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