Our Lady of Shift Lock

Upper case, lower case.
Chest voice, head voice. Shouting,
whispering. Outside voice,
indoor voice. Active voice,
passive voice. Times Roman,
Comic Sans. There are rules
the dyslexic cannot
understand, never mind
follow. It’s not about
respect; it is about
ability. There are
so many rules. Where do
they come from? How can rules
change what is said, and how?
If a battlecry is
whispered, what happens? If
someone screams out love poems
with tears streaking, running
down their face, what comes next?
If I change this voice, my
voice, am I still able
to pray? Will my prayers be
heard? Moving through margins
of this world of built things
fitting together like
puzzle pieces β€” walls are
not like women; paths are
safe places; gears shift to
keep us in line β€” there are
reasons why, good ones. Still,
I have lived a life typed
in shift lock on broken
keys. I count syllables
that make a word, the words
that make a sentence. There
are words, feelings, lives, worlds
that cannot be typed out,
because they cannot be
written shifting between
upper and lower case,
but must be fluid. Is
there a place in heaven
where God preserves the way
my mouth feels (hot and cold,
liquid ice still as an
anchor) when I do not
say your name?

12 responses to “Our Lady of Shift Lock

  1. This line, this line!
    “I have lived a life typed
    in shift lock on broken
    Evocative and true, this line nuzzled right into my own uncertainties about my life and gave me a new way of conceiving them. That is the real power of poetry, and you are kind to share your largess.


    • Thank you, Josephine. πŸ™‚ That one rang true as soon as it entered my mind. What you say is also how it feels to me β€” the nuzzling uncertainty, hands spread open, but hesitant.

  2. You are welcome! I also enjoy that you didn’t complete the full six syllables for the final line; it makes what is not said into a present absence.

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