Fragile Speak

by John T. Solomon

Naked mouths cling to words like
Cold shivering newborn mice.
e-e-e-e. bu-

Excuse me?
What did you say?
I'm sorry, I didn't understand.

Words do come.
Words like abused children,
Scraped, bruised.
They tumble, fall, or shoot forth
As if blasted by a high powered cannon.

Looking at words from outside you window
I see slick, fast talkers.
Greasy hair, hawk nose, tight lipped sandpaper speakers.
Fire, reload, aim, and fire again.
Words like ammunition.

I often wonder what it's like not to care,
Not to worry,
Not to sweat down the middle of my back,
For my hands not to shake.
Then I stop.

And I feel a little wiser,
And a little more secure,
like a secret,
In my own brand of knowledge
Fragile Speak.

added October 15, 1999