The Language of Daughters
BY ROCHELLE HURT
builds a daughter’s house: beams of I like fingers accuse
eachother in circular rooms, circuited with silent vowels
that string themselves together endlessly.
are composed entirely of silence, and these will trickle out
of a daughter’s mouth as she sleeps.
Of course, certain gradients
of daughterbreath won’t translate: fear of fathers, fevers, regret.
There are sixty-seven terms for red, forty-two for leaving,
but none for sorry.
Unwatched, a daughter’s verbs switch tense,
a life unbecoming as was swallows am swallows will.
the language falls away like scrub from a daughter’s brain, but when
it is heard again, her dumb tongue burns with voiceless consonants:
tk tk of fingernails on drywall, sh sh of lace on tile, st st of silver
trembling in its drawer. Her mind
is blanched in a bowl of light—
her lips part, her body stutters, she looses a ribbon of time.
splinters with words unlearned, and hidden roofs collapse inside,
leaving only interjection—O
a daughter’s life is spent
sifting the wreckage of meaning heaped between her teeth.