The following is shared by Rod Abbott. It was given to him by a speech-language pathologist when he was in college.

Speech Class

We were outcasts
you with your stutters,
me with my slurring
and that was plenty for a friendship.

When we left class to go to the therapist
we hoped they wouldn't laugh
took turns reminding the teacher:
"Me and Joe have to go to shpeesh clash now,"
or "M-m-me and J-Jim have to go to s-s-speech now."

Mrs. Clark, therapist, was also god, friend, mother.
Once she took us to the zoo on a field trip:
"Aw, ya gonna go look at the monkeys?"
"Maybe they'll teach you how to talk."
We clenched teeth and went
and felt the sun and fed the animals
and we were a family of broken words.

For years we both tried so hard
and I finally learned
where to put my tongue and how to make the sounds
and graduated.

but the first time you left class without me
I felt that punch in the gut
I felt like a deserter
and wanted you
to have my voice.