behind my words, sometimes

i don’t know when i learnt how to do this, this soft-subtle warfare that falls from my tongue.

how i send words out of my mouth, after letting each one climb rough-shod up the rose-dotted trellis of my throat, without allowing them to pick a single bloom first, only thorns.

in my defence, sometimes i still speak with my child-mouth, watch you—with the softness of my child-eyes.

she thinks she knows what to expect, she remembers the things she learnt—how to sniff the breeze for what she will not receive, and how to choose a new name for disappointment.

i send them forth—my words, covered in armour, hidden behind metal, and sharp to the touch, they fly, and fall into your hands already cutting, bleeding—that means i win, i drew blood first.

i want you to see the shout in me, the noise—want you to know the tough capsule of my heart.

i am not what i want to be, and i am what i am not.

and shallow inside the hot sheathing lies the naked skin of everything that i am too afraid to say. the soft belly of the things that i want to show you, want to give you—hiding.

— behind my words, sometimes

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Sar iroon

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