defamation

The words sat in my voice box,

for years,

my lips couldn’t make the words.

When I tried to say them,

my voice turned to vapor

and poured out of my mouth like smoke,

evaporating.

Hearing my mouth spit out the syllables

made it true,

and the longer it stayed trapped under my tongue

the longer I could try to erase it.

 

Memories are sometimes a relief

but the one with your taste in my mouth

is a drilling into my eardrum.

With a small hope

of releasing the pressure

I stick my hands down my throat

and force the words up and out.

They are messy but they are true.

I don’t know quite how to arrange them.

 

Me,

                                 too.

 

Still, you find me.

You are ravenous

and tear at the flesh of my words

like a wolf on the hunt.

You tell me that my words

are a house of straw,

and that you plan to set it on fire

if I don’t do it first.

My story will go up in smoke,

you warn.

 

Instead,

I fortify them

in the fire

into steel.

Brenna Lakeson is a queer feminist pastor and social activist living in Atlanta, GA. Born and raised in North Carolina, she has a BA in Music from Elon University, with minors in Spanish and Latin American studies. She has an MDiv from Candler School of Theology at Emory University with particular interests in feminist theology, Hebrew Bible, and apocalyptic literature.

 

Her writing strives to hold the stories of the marginalized in the light, create meaning from her experiences, and heal the things that hurt. Her recently published pieces can be found in Lifevest Literary Magazine at lifevestlit.com, Z Publishing’s Georgia’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Nonfiction, and America’s Emerging Poets 2018: Southeast Region. Her newest endeavor, unguarded, serves to relinquish perfectionism, witness the messiness of living, and tell her full truths. Brenna's writing and blog can be found at brennalakeson.com.

©2018 HighShelfPress.