I Come from a Line of Embodied Ventriloquists

I come from a line of embodied ventriloquists --
          people who spoke through their bodies,
muted from fear,
blinded from pain,
crippled from oppressive anger,
unable to catch a breath in the stale stench of disappointment and loss.

I run in the dusk of the evening,
not from the angry mobs brandishing torches and burning homes of my people,
nor from the brutal weapons of starvation my ancestors fled,
but from my own fears --
          obsolescence,
          descent into meaninglessness,
my own demons of the night,
terrors and shadows of the dark.

I want to know,
          did they speak up and what did they say?
          What words of protest sprang from their lips?
          What words were whispered in the dark
          that told them it was time to go?

I carry their wounds and scars in my DNA,
and I hope they will whisper to me
          when it is time to speak
          and when it is time to go.

© Christine Salkin Davis, 2019


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