A girl in class opts out of speech. A teacher mouths
problems at home and who knows what too-large
or brutal vision stalled the engine of her voice.

In a photograph I pass round, a man reels from
a baton to the head and cameras bloom in every hand
to catch his perfect grimace. Today, we write about

the things that we believe in. The class comes up with
god, by all the usual names, and faith in numbers,
that the News at Ten’s more often bad than good,

that some things never change, no matter what
you say, although there’s so much to be said.
A girl carves out a space for her voice to return to.

Praise her fierce and stubborn silence. Somewhere,
rain falls on dry land for the first time in months,
and I want to know what her first words will be.

unpublished poem, © Jacob Sam-La Rose 2011, used by permission of the author

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