Collective Unrest

 

Sibyl

April 10, 2019

I will not sleep with you,

so you curse me—not

with venomous words or a mouth

full of spit, but with malicious

ambivalence, you do not

speak at all.

 

I caress the dust

in my hands, and you give me

what I want: a room to myself,

alone with my words, flying

from the mouth of my cave

on aging leaves.

 

I cling to the ceiling, speaking

so softly

that you believe I am

an echo of your own utterance.

 

Defiantly, my voice

lasts even after it cracks

and frays—you despise

that curious rise and lilt,

as if I am always questioning

your right to speak. My body

 

wastes into the dust

I once held

but my voice remains.

 

 

Courtney Bates-Hardy is the author of House of Mystery (ChiZine, 2016) and Sea Foam (JackPine Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in a variety of literary magazines, including Room, Carousel, and On Spec, and they have been featured in Imaginarium 4: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing and longlisted for The Best Canadian Poetry 2015. She is a dual citizen of Canada and the US, and lives in Saskatchewan.

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