Voice

My voice has been gone for months. I tell myself it will return like one of those faithful dogs unwittingly lost hundreds of miles from home. In my mind I can smell the heat and sour of its breath, feel the heavy fatigue that pushes down on its neck, see the scrapes on the pads of its feet. I can smell the dark cold of its fur and feel the matting of its coat tightening and pulling at the skin. I hope this dog doesn’t give up, doesn’t lie down in the ditch, there by the side of the road. And I hope, too, it saw the same light I saw this weekend, the thousands and thousands of women marching.

The truth is I chased my voice away. It was too trembly, I thought. It stumbled over words. It lacked indignant, angry energy and was well schooled in going mute when challenged. I silenced myself.

I thought of Sor Juana. I thought of Anne Sexton. I remembered how angry I felt when I discovered I’d reached the end of their words, that somehow, though their words were of them, they didn’t belong to them.

It’s true I prefer quiet to loud, and bird-loud to human-loud. I’d rather be silently sorting buttons with an old grandma than be dosed with the flash and color of crowds.

But I see the Gollums out there dancing their gleeful dances on the backs of human dignity. I see darkness coming and the silence of powerlessness starts to descend upon me again.

Then I remember having heard the rustling of a corn stalk in a black field. I remember the tire screech from a car a half mile away. I remember how big the sound of a lone voice is on a mountain.

Sound will pierce the places there is no light. A dogged voice will cut through the darkness. The meek one will too.