For years my voice was sealed off in a wooden box
Nothing was there but the painted smile of pretty lips
Perhaps it is dying, I thought, and that is why they have buried it.
You could tell time by this, I thought, like the rings of a tree.
Individual moments, individual branches flanking the sides of this instrument.
Coiling, choking that which was not welcome.
It lay there like Sleeping Beauty awaiting a kiss, for permission to gasp, to sigh, to breathe.
Prince Charming never came and the voice remained motionless.
Pulling back the shrub and ivy that enshrouded it, I rested it in my hands,
hoping there was something I could do to revive it.
It was bruised and scarred in places. Stitched. Hoarse and barely breathing.
Nothing but vulnerable.
And all this is metaphor. An ordinary voice that had been silenced...
only longing to speak.
Was it lost as a child amidst the rubble of loud noises,
Longing to keep the peace?
Was it the words that filled her head,
considered sin if they were released?
“Perfect, perfect, perfect. God will only love you if you’re perfect!”
Was it the coworker who crossed a line, while she was dismissed because he misunderstood “US customs”?
Was it he 21 and she 14, teeth entangled in her hair, his slimy tongue and words in her ears?
Was it someone she trusted most...
skin on skin
It will be over soon
It's your fault, you know
That’s what I wanted to say.
There, my voice. A kiss Prince Charming could never give you.
You are now alive!
To speak, to roar, to sigh...to whisper, to laugh, to sing.
To stand up, to sit down.
To fumble with this new gift you’ve found.
No longer do you have to live in a box buried just beneath life,
immobilized by fear.
No longer do you have to wear that pretty stitched-on smile and nod your head in agreement...
If you do not wish.
Within you is a power you have never used.
So take a deep breath and open your mouth.
Silence no longer owns you!