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  • Sydney Cusack


You tell me

to speak up —

Or else

Or else,

no one will hear me.

Speak up

or else,

someone else

with full, ferocious sincerity,

will snatch the stirring statement

from the depths of my mind.

Your condescension

cackles in the face

of my quiet.

When I listen,

Listen listlessly —

Tyranny never tires.

Oppressors become rulers

by default, because

they were born

into dwellings of expression.

Speech enables possibilities.

So I listen to you

to end my listening

I speak.

My words impale

like a sharp,

self-assured succulent

My words

shatter glass houses,

and shine spotlights on

the rage

that’s boiled in the stomachs

of my ancestors.

And you finally catch a

measly glimpse

of what we’ve endured

for millennia.

Speech enables succession.



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