defamation

The truth sat in my voice box
for years,
calcifying and decaying.
When I tried
to speak it,
my voice turned to vapor,
pouring out of my mouth like smoke.
But the longer it stayed
trapped under my tongue
the more I tried to swallow it back down
and dissolve it in my stomach.

The lump in my throat
has grown so big that I can’t
breathe or swallow.
Finally, to release the pressure,
I stick my hands down my throat
and force the words up and out.
They are messy,
and I don’t know quite how to arrange them.

Me,
too.

You are ravenous,
tearing at the flesh of my words
like a wolf on the hunt.
You tell me that my truth
is 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 say.
Instead,
I fortify it
in the fire
into steel.

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