Voice-In-Law

by C. King
Blueline
Honorable Mention, February 2007
Judged by Pascale Petit


I know her voice, too soft for understanding
but with alarming sibilants, like rust.
The worry of the decades moves her mouth
and throat to make the indistinct more harrowed.
I lose the nuance. And, again, I lose it.

My wife, of course, can hear the tiny vowels
and doesn’t mind how half the consonants
are shouted while the other half are missing.
She hears anxiety as kiln-fired love
and slight approval as confetti rainbows.

I wonder, now, how my own mother sounds
without the filter of my understanding,
the singsong tones, the braced sincerity
that I know as the cautious woman’s care
for those sewn on her tapestry of life.



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