6/9

audiobook family

in the romper room
we kept all our ears on the shelves.
our tongues were out to pasture.
so, when i spoke, 
only yarn came out.
we repeat stories in my house
each time the details becoming
more like glass. my father promises
he was a soldier in the first world war.
tells me about gatling guns
& the trenches' spoiled dirt.
he crawls into headphones
just like me. i am a grub
or a worm. my brother lights 
the tree on fire & calls it a prophecy.
i try to put it out but just make it worse.
the story goes like this
"we are from
the time of antiques. a rusted telephone.
grinding eggs into dust." 
for hours we call for our tongues 
but they never come back.
i ask my mother, "tell me a story
without your lips." she closes her eyes
& i close mine. we share a little
dark kingdom where every mushroom 
is a telephone line to the underworld.
in the whole house there is
only one plug & we fight hungrily for it,
especially at night.
teeth like airplanes. 
clamoring to hear what the wall
has to say. gives us stories
about drowned girls & hitchhikers. 
when i get my turn 
my ears hum. i forget to worry
about my tongue or drawers full 
of spare teeth. i am just
a pocket knife being opened 
& opened. wooden dining room tables.
my father, digging a trench 
to sleep in. i go with him,
carrying my ears 
in my backpocket. 

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