When we are not fast enough to swallow our words

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The words that leave our mouths but never reach their intended audience

There are always loose ends skittering about the place.
Like the lint that traveled home
on sneakers after a day in a dust bunny factory,
or the algae that grows
on slow moving
three-toed sloths,
these million, billion loose-ends all over the place
are created in our vocal chords,
but are too heavy to fly when they reach our lips.
They plummet when they hit the air
into a mass on the floor,
where they wait patiently to be cleaned up.

They need maintenance every day as well,
lest they pile up dramatically and assemble into
a monstrous knotted villain of orphaned ends
who ties unsuspecting sneakers together
in holy knotrimony,
and spreads his twists and turns into motherboards
to tangle cables during finals week
or slithers into pockets to
to wreck perfectly good pairs of headphones.

But even with an OCD cleaning regimen,
occasionally stray strands lay forgotten on the ground,
and the loose ends stay dormant
until found by a dormouse bandit,
where they are taken to his underground lair
that can only be opened
by sprinkling sesame seeds on an expired mousetrap.

Here the bits and pieces of drunken philosophy,
misheard song lyrics
and forgotten names
are herded by the patient rodent
into a blue prescription bottle where they are chewed,
and sorted,
and fussed over,
and eventually digested.

Complaints are all that remain of the mouse’s feast,
but these are not wasted;
they mouse takes a needle
carved from a discarded fingernail and
stitches together, like black cats and crows,
the ghostly superstitions of past conversations.

The tiny rodent has assembled a mountain of treasures
generally made a big deal of—
like whether paper or plastic,
Mac or PC,
blue cheese or balsamic,
evens or odds,
maybe or no,
regular or supersized,
lubricated or not.

Only the little creature can make sense of
the sea of mismatched puzzle pieces,
for if human hands tried to clumsily pick up
a billion strands of gibberish with tweezers
their eyes would be too large to see the difference between them.

One thought on “When we are not fast enough to swallow our words

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