WORDLESSNESS by Ann Blackburn


She moves through words like elephants.
At age 7, she wrote with the razors of caretakers
until she had no ink. Even if they say apologetic things,
they are lying through tongued-teeth.

The woman in the girl holds a flag in one hand —
pale as polar. Underneath the fog, put socks on.
Maybe the frozen sound only has to do with fairytales:
Santa is real even after he sneaks into breath-holding room.

The smokey terrycloth figure made rum cocktails
and meshed jokes in a restaurant
off a dingy away
from the scorpion hotel.

One person explained her world trapped into sorries
about concave pill bottles the man said he never had;
locked into lies of forgiving and years, okay and fine,
as in equal breath sounds on each side.

A parent has nothing to do with a child.
Her first lesson:
don’t speak.


Ann Blackburn is currently a student at Sarah Lawrence College where she studies poetry. She has studied with Cynthia Cruz, Suzanne Gardinier, and Martha Rhodes. She is currently working on her manuscript.