Prison-barred words

The words back up.  Piling, one upon the other.  Stacking and toppling, until they are out of order, meaning tangled.

Still I keep my mouth closed.  For how do I know that these words are yours and not mine?  These words which burn in my bones, taste like acid in my mouth.  Prophet or cynic?  Speaker of truth or repeater of petty little frustrations?

And I look to the heavens for inspiration.  Because all I want is to hear your voice.  Yet there is nothing but the silence.  And the words which tumble, barred in a prison which I dare not unlock.  Words sharpened by frustration.  Which might come out sharply, cutting rather than curing.

What is your heart, they ask.  Perhaps what you see that is broken is the place he would have you serve.

And inside I scream, this.  This thing we do is broken and I’m sick of playing at church.  But I do not say it.  Because I cannot bear their looks.  The surprise.  The hurt.  The attempts to soothe my vehemence as I scythe with words what we have long held dear.

Instead I play at church too.  I fit the box I’m given, though if you asked I could not tell you why.  I try to remember to smile, though the fire inside rages for release.  I tamp it down.  Remember restraint.  Second-guess myself again and again.

Sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, it is as if these words which tumble, stacking and toppling, spell out for a moment the question I dare not embrace.  The thing which would throw Sundays into question.  Would release these words which might be yours.

But they might only be mine.  And so I bite down on my tongue.  Wrap more chains around the prison bars and wait.


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