• : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /cube/sites/htdocs/nyumc/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.
  • : preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /cube/sites/htdocs/nyumc/includes/unicode.inc on line 311.

Speech


  Laurie Klein

 

Lock that tongue to the roof

of your mouth, the therapist says,

eyeing the trach

at the base of her throat. (Memory

pulses in her, replaying a lover

eyeing her neckline.) Her gaze

lasers the expert's ear lobe,

marking a place for a hammered

gold stud, a cross, or a fish—

Be amphibian: breathe, he says,

slow, through the stoma. Good,

he says. Good. (Like gills, pumping,

pumping away as the barbed

hook is withdrawn, the catch

thrown back . . . Don't

go there.) Force air up your gullet.

She gulps, then finesses

a belch, and he cries, Yes!

Now shape the noise. She tries, over

and over, a first-time lover,

kissing sounds old as earth, bracing

as rain, words she'd thought forever

lost, croaking: "Thank you," tongue,

teeth, palate, lips.