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Two Classes, No Words
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Up in the corner of the ceiling everyone looks the same. Spirits differentiate themselves through colors and sounds, the energies of intention. Bodies move in rhythm with bright overhead lights, buzzing. Occasionally, Miss Sinclair notices me hovering, slamming me back into my body. Her attention is cursory. “Yes, Here. I’m here.” My voice comes from behind my left lung, a breathy sound far away. She moves on down the row. I wonder if I scare her. I move my red dirt hair over my face and float back up to the ceiling. She calls five of her favorite female students up to her desk and arrange them around her like a circle of golden angels protecting Mary’s blue mantle. They adore each other with wide pupils and glossy smiles. This week the chosen five read excerpts from their papers, just like last week. Then they sing the Star Spangled Banner, a capella, before reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. It’s some kind of torture show displayed by anal repulsives. I am three grades ahead in reading levels but never once does Miss Sinclair ask me to read my paper. I wonder if Miss Sinclair is fucking one of their Dads. I decide that she can see my thoughts and that is why she ignores me. Better to keep the silence and let us both feel safe. The counselors put me in this class thinking I would start speaking this year. That, plus they started pulling me out of Math class for daily tongue exercises with the Speech teacher and three seriously disabled students who try very hard to speak. Two of them are in wheelchairs and one has crutches. Each of us carries a generational pain passed in chemical signals along a long twisted ladder, lodged in our throats. I try to speak when my turn comes to practice the sounds, but it’s just too painful to be seen. I just can’t. My disability feels like a wailing wall without sounds. I write notes and stick them deep in the gray curls of my brain, praying. The tongue will atrophy. It’s not enough to eat, you have to make speech sounds too. In this class I stay in my body long enough to feel their longing and recognize it as my own. Long have you been silent, tortured tongue. Your only friend hears your bowing prayers. Let’s call her Page. She receives your heart intention like a holy writ, a heart song with full orchestra, stored in silver ether for all eternity.

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