René Magritte – The Double Secret (1927)

“So, what do you think of this?”

I open my mouth to speak,
where syllables borne from flesh, bone
and a spark
push and shove each other
wanting to take a great leap
off that giant springboard, the tongue

And then up there, in
an enormous grey cavern, a
familiar imp blazes through playfully
pressing panic buttons
on stressed, rickety systems where
half-formed thoughts start hollering and
run amok, like frightened cockroaches –

what if I say something stupid
and offend someone or make someone
angry and then they’ll start whispering behind my back
about how weird I am and what if they laugh at my opinions
and how half-baked they sound so why are they still talking to me
they must have taken pity on this poor shivering soul they really didn’t

want to speak,
to me?

So, alas,
phonetics broke their ankles
dramatically in response
and moody syllables took their places
on the side benches,
firmly ensconced –

“So, what do you think of this, then?”

I could only nod,

to pretend.

(For anyone that has had their mind [and tongue] held at bay by anxiety…)

© Zelda Reville


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