Posted tagged ‘loss of speech poem’

Stroke Of –

April 21, 2017

Stroke Of–

If he’d planned for it, he would have joined the glee club.
Hell, if he’d planned for it, maybe he would have quit
the god damn smokes.

But he’d not planned for it,
and when all that his mouth would loose
was what he’d learned,
preferably to music,
he was stuck with nursery bits, saved
like a favorite sweet, tooth-marked and not really suited
for bed.

So “twinkle twinkle,” he sang when he needed to pee,
and, when he wanted to know the time, “hickory dickory,”
though there was a big clock he could just make out if he let
his good side loll, and the nurses couldn’t tell what he was aiming at
anyway, but simply scanned
his torsoed sheet–

if he could even come up with a jingle, but his tongue was a backside caught
in a collapsed

until that time he looked at the nurse he thought of
as her,
as she tried to help him shift,
pulling one sheet side, her eyes reminding him
of a cow’s eyes, the one
that jumped over the moon–but in
a good way,

brown curls about her face like bovine eyelashes,
as thick as cream

and a voice that he almost recognized tilted into
“oh beautiful–”

and she stopped mid-tug–
“for spacious skies–” some part of him went on,
unconsciously smoothing the sheet with the hand that still
only really, this had nothing to do
with that blue sheet–
“for amber waves of grain,” quavering–

“Aha,” she said, but her eyes somehow then became rain
to him, that gentle droppeth, and more like moons
than cows–

“so, you’re getting hungry, huh?” she tried,

and he was pretty sure that wasn’t what
he meant at all, still what could smiled.


Another drafty poem for April 2017; Magaly Guerrero’s prompt on Real Toads, to talk of idea of “I have no mouth but I must scream.”  Here I write of a phenomenon where certain stroke victims lose the ability to speak but are able to recite poems or sing songs because the words are stored in a part of the brain other than the speech center. 


(Song at the end is America the Beautiful lyrics by Katherine Lee Bates.)