the voice behind the one you’ve been speaking with all this time.

You are going to curve your body into as many alphabets as your lips can fit around. Your tongue loses its ability to bend when you reach four thousand and forty-nine, but you still have two thousand, four-hundred and fifty-one to go and you’ve run out of spit. So you borrow some from your lover in order to complete the sentences you started two decades prior. There may be a collapse during this time. Here is why:

1. There will be a significant moment when you decide that the keratin climbing over the flesh at the tip of your fingers is like a cage. You are deeply uncomfortable by the imprisonment of your nail bed, so you peel each one off slowly because sometimes pain is a necessary part of reminding the body that it still works. After the removal of each nail, you find that the skin held captive all this time is limp and wavy. It may be angry. It may not have wanted this freedom; some things are not always ready to come out when you want them to.                      
 
2. The ground is not as sturdy as you’ve been led to believe.
 
3. No one ever told you in science class—grades seven through twelve—that there are actual bones located in the ecosystem of your voice and if you don’t drink enough milk or whiskey, they will not grow properly.
 
4. Someone may tap you on the shoulder while you are underground, waiting for the 4 train and ask you the sexual orientation of your belt buckle. 
 
5. What about the letters that are silent.
 
6. What it means to rummage for a better more accurate sound to let them know that you are not exactly what you’ve led others and yourself to believe.
 
7. Impermanence.
 
8. Your knuckles in a bar on the lower east side on a Monday in a bathroom, dark because someone else’s exposed vertebrae turned it that way and you locate the tunnel of a mouth you’ve only just begun to get the name of.
 
9. This version isn’t exactly deeper, rather like an ironed out Coltrane.
 
10. Don’t forget to breathe. Hidden in every exhale is a love letter to your former and future. Untwist the question marks into multiple exclamation marks to recognize the static in knowing.
 
 
 

remind me what it sounds like.

Talk about what it means to lose your voice.

Wait.

Talk about what it means to give your voice away and exchange it for a different pitch. To leave your tone behind because it never matched the way you heard yourself.

Talk about this new slope of sound coming from your lungs and lunging off your tongue.

i never knew your voice before it changed, so i cannot imagine it as anything but you

Talk about the sensation of hearing your voice echo against your ribcage. Is it softer now? Deeper? When you speak out your syllables, do you curve your back toward the resonance or are you still hesitant to call it yours?

sometimes i think about what it will be would be like to walk away from the ring tone of my voice

I gave away my voice a few years ago to a couple of strangers who misspelled my name and mangled my limbs into a paint stain. I traveled to nearby bodega, picked up a can of chick peas, an onion, some ginger and a voice. On a Sunday, I biked along a path full of yarrow, red maple, windflowers and picked a pinecone in the shape of my voice. I climbed a bridge and contemplated then executed a jump, felt several boroughs collide in the form of water washing away the trouble in my skin and there I spoke several octaves of breath control.

if only i could pick and choose what changes