Speech

When the next door neighbor's daughter caught
       her pinky finger in the hinge of the door
before someone slammed it hard, she lost
       her voice. She was just six. The finger  
itself, against all odds, was saved: someone 
       having the presence of mind to run 
for a towel packed with ice as they rushed 
       her to the ER. After that, her speech 
was never the same again; when she opened  
       her mouth, words came out nearly
mangled beyond recognition, as if the throat
       or voice box was pressed forcefully 
through a rolling mill. But as she grew 
       into her girlhood, her beauty  
swelled beyond our own capacity to fix
       in language: she learned to smile
again, to sign in air those quick, 
       bright flashes we'd always be 
slower and less adept at comprehending. 


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