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“Butterflies or Eleven Responses to the Phrase ‘You’re So Quiet,'” by Maia Pody

Butterflies or Eleven Responses to the Phrase “You’re So Quiet”

oh really?
i hadn’t noticed

talking to dreamers with big smiles and small consciences is like floating on indestructible clouds
but clouds are not indestructible

that’s funny
because you’re so loud

your words light the room on fire
talk in disparate shades of flame
converse in barely differing frequencies
and sometimes it sounds like safety
but sometimes i worry you’ll burn the building down

you tell me you’re afraid to touch me
because you think if you do I will crumble in your hands
you say you wouldn’t have to speak for me if i spoke for myself
but you keep talking over me

every time you open your mouth the most beautiful
bright orange monarch butterfly proboscis
you forget to be cautious can they teach me
to make butterflies like that

i am not a blank page so don’t try to fill me up
with meaningless text
there are words already written there
does the fact that you can’t see them
make you uncomfortable i don’t want to make you uncomfortable
you’re making me uncomfortable

i’m just tired all the time

you could engrave my silence on a tombstone
encode it on my exhalations
show me PowerPoint presentations
and i’d still tell myself i
talk too much because what if i put too much sugar in
and the words all come out too sweet
and you smile with a closed mouth and say
that tastes kinda funny
and i search in vain for a recipe

did you think i wasn’t cognizant of the fact i don’t seem confident
did you think my brain was sleeping because my thought bubbles are on the inside
did you decide that your big voice made you big important on the first day of school
or had that been fed to you in spoonfuls of your baby food
forced down your throat like the bitter tasting medicine your parents used to feed you
by now you’ve learned to feed it to yourself

i guess so
what were you saying?

Maia Pody wrote this poem while a 9th grader at The Center School with WITS Writer Matt Gano. Performed at Seattle Arts & Lectures’ 2017/18 Women You Need to Know (WYNK) Series with Ariel Levy, May 15, 2018, at Benaroya Hall.

Posted in 2017/18 SeasonStudent WritingWomen You Need to KnowWriters in the Schools