The devil never gives you something
for free, my mother always says
to me, and I only just know that
you understand things better
when you live them.
if the devil gives you a hat,
he collects a head.
my father is the proverbial tortoise
that collects all the wisdom in the world
thinks of the safest place to hide it
and climbs the palm tree without wise thought
only to fall down halfway,
breaking his back.
do you think a voice comes at no cost?
voices are never just born,
this I know.
they are recycled, or bought, or in my mother’s case, stolen.
my father let me have a voice,
and I thanked him. loved him. worshipped him. and I looked to
my mother and said, ‘Ma, Daddy
loves me so much. please thank him for me.’ but my mother
did not respond.
then I realised my father seized my mother’s voice,
kept it for centuries,
unwrapped it as soon as I was born,
and put it in my mouth.