Odd Sister

By Emily Duquette

There is a pit at the bottom of your lungs. 
It is filling up with forbidden sounds. 
 
They fall not in waves, but as dust, 
quiet accumulations of time and change
 
You forgot the sounds you could have made, 
like skin you leave behind on slick black tiles 
 
or the edges of a tub. There is something 
you are trying to say: cough, sputter, 
 
kick out of the pit, but you have forgotten 
the sound, the motion of its life. You search 
 
through the debris of noises and you think it’s too late. 
Those words have lived and bred in the pit.
 
You think they are now foreign voices, too high 
or too low for your throat, but you are wrong. 
 
The words are more yours than ever.
This pit is where the soul goes when it is bored.
 
When you can’t sleep it wanders down beneath your lungs, 
walks among the dusty sounds, a pool of smoke 
 
kicked up around the ankles, and it listens to the pain, 
the lost, the unforgivable, acts audience to the gyre.
 
The words no longer need you to find them, 
they become animals, given time 
 
they become the voice of an odd sister, 
living below your lungs rising like a warm humid vapor. 
 
She walks out of you, here in the mist you can finally see her, 
the sister of your silence. She is all that you have forsaken, 
 
the wild human things. Still, she embraces you, lets her voice out in moans,
and you hold on to her lint skin, like a precious thing found at last.

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