Failing Words This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Her inability to handle words has reached epic proportions
they are unwieldy and oddly shaped and they do not stack right,
spilling out of her arms as she carries them,
her mouth and her fingertips faster than her brain would like.
She bumbles adverbs, especially
marrying “obviously” with every third watery verb,
and binds the telling suffix to any adjective that will stand still long enough
It’s mysterious, the way that her clean words
boomerang back to her all dripping with blood, cut up
and caged by someone else’s quotation marks.
The envelopes and fountain pen that once thrilled her
now only drive her to her bed, hiding under sheets from the memory
of the mushroom cloud of syllables that formed
just above the mailbox
immediately after her last sentence exploded into
unimpressive fragments.
It makes her question
how she got so good at undertones
that even she stopped hearing the low, dull murmur
of a thousand voices apparently screaming completely different things
than what’s written.
and it’s impossible to keep track of the way the mouth
connects to the brain, or how to control it
when it goes awry and shouts, “Green!”
voice colliding with walls to form an ugly spit-riddled stain
tarnishing the lustrous surface of all her good intentions.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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