This poem was also published in Alaska Women Speak’s winter issue 2015. Enjoy!
If I May Speak
over my mother’s teaspoon as
it scrapes the teacup like a child
who discovers an annoying sound
it finds joyful only to do it again and again.
The words that spill over her tea,
the steam that comes off the cup,
have little meaning.
They are the same things we have talked about
each time we have tea:
the people who have died
and the people who have not.
Each time we speak
we pretend that there is nothing
else to discuss or confess.
If I may speak,
if I could say what I wanted to say,
ask for the secrets she hides,
tell her the feelings I have inside,
would she hear me?
Would she listen?
Or would it all drown
in the liquid in her cup,
in a whirlpool of sugar
that distorts all voices,