We speak too fast.
The child sits at our table, waiting
his turn. The clock
points a sharp finger. The daily
too hot to eat. Between
words the child thrashes I-I-I—
takes a deep breath.
That high voice—all clumsy fingers—
the shoelace fast enough. The master of the house
is counting. The hurt
over and over, blunt needle picking at an old
Years ago in a high chair
he drummed wet fists, his face
a knot: Give me
words. The fury
beat in his throat. Mother and father, we put
words in his mouth, we
speak harder, faster, we give him
a life to chew on.