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well, I can respond to a name or two

but none of the ones you call me

I thought I’d had a memorable one

it’s nice & all of you to welcome me into your vibrance

but the words you speak only leave me silent


& no, I’m not trying to spite you

I wouldn’t admit it, but I actually like you

& though you make all the right gestures

none of them can reconcile our different tempers


‘cause I wasn’t privy to the intricacies of our interactions

I couldn’t fathom that I give permission

through words in omission from



you must have missed them

implicit pretenses imply my intentions

with God as my witness

I didn’t mean any of them


I’m not too attached to the thought that I’m anonymous

no mononym is singular enough to call me

my pride is a monolith & I cannot swallow it

the thought of ever mattering is the one that’s the most challenging


& so I don’t realize my wrongness

I thought, for once, I'd try to feel through my numbness

& oh, how I wished to be sentient

but vulnerabilities aren’t weaknesses, necessarily


& silences aren’t acts of violence, I think

but I’m not quite familiar with principles of pleasure

my vices fit between incisors

which, when I bite down, subdue all the evil I do


don’t speak

stop, just don’t speak

I won’t speak

even if my tongue bleeds


don’t speak when you’re talking to me

& don’t think when you’re thinking of me

& don’t hear when you listen to me

& don’t feel when you’re feeling lonely

don’t speak when you forget what my names are

just close your mouth & choose one from in your repertoire


just don’t speak or call

just don’t speak at all

just don’t speak or call

just don’t speak at all

just don’t speak or call

just don’t speak at all

just don’t speak or call

don’t speak at all

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