Unspeaking

I.
It is called unspeaking. Using the voice of hands
and of moans and fingertips against lips.
The screaming keening of bashing one’s head
against the console, of breaking one’s hand
slamming it in a door. This is unspeaking.

This is what language becomes
when words black out, when no speech lives,
when there is nothing in the brain but dust and color.
The bright gashes of crimson, the spring damp of blood
on boxers because words have failed emotion.
The shout of no voice, the whine of air
against reluctant vocal cords that do not speak
that perhaps will never speak again,
unused organ pipes in a padlocked cathedral.

Silence that becomes invisibility.
That begets forgetting that I am a person, that I exist.
Loquor ergo sum; sed cogito, cogito, cogito.
My thoughts as loud as forever, my hands roaring
but no one listens. Whispers without wind.

II.
There are languages that slide under the surface,
subtextual dialects that we do not consider.
The tilt of an eyebrow or the curve of a cheek.
The violent slash of a hand across the face,
or the slow circuit of pacing ellipses,
or the soft hush of sucking a thumb.

These are my first words, my mother tongues.
At times there is no translation,
no interpretation from thought to voice,
I slip into my home language.
When English fails I unspeak.

III.
Do not assume I have stopped talking
because there is no sound in my throat.
Because no ghost brushes my vocals.
There is conversation in my hands
and in the tilt of my eyes
and in the tightness of my mouth
and the slip of my thumb.
This is unspeaking.
Listen.

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