OPEN YOUR MOUTH
There’s no need to burst into song.
Just open your mouth – cautious
at first, expect it to creak, to whine
its resistance, but open it will,
like a drawer on old runners, full
of lost things. Don’t be afraid.
From the red of your parched
mouth, unstick your tongue,
let it play in your mouth.
You don’t know yet
what may pour from that place:
sputters only, a trickle, a thread,
or - stoppered so long - a burst
of old bloodied speech from the last
words your ancestor spoke.
Be patient. Let that first word lift
from the ledge of your lips, wait for as long
as it takes, believe your tongue knows.
One word as sharp as a sliver of ice
can cut to a knife-edge of knowing,
but whatever once was, this is now.
You are allowed. Open your mouth and
From Surrender (Five Leaves Press, 2022)
© Cathy Grindrod