The Words Are Gone

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The words are gone. I don’t know where they are but I hope that they come back before anyone notices that they are missing.

There was a day when they dripped from the trees like dew and you could pick them and taste their sweetness. You could feel them on the breeze and the water would sing them to you. There was a time when they bubbled up inside of you, flowing from eager hands onto the page.

Once they were like honey on the tongue but now the little that is left tastes bitter and you must swallow them or spit them out. They stick in your throat and will not come out the way you wanted and people look at you askance, making you puzzle over why you just can’t say anything right, sometimes making you ashamed that you even opened your mouth.

I don’t mean to sound abrupt. And I’m not stupid. I just don’t have many words left and they don’t behave like they should so I try not to use them. What little is left has ceased to mean much. They are just empty echoes really.

Where did they go? Perhaps we are only given so many at a time and if we use them up we must live on emergency rations until the new words arrive. Maybe when we begin to treat them lightly they disappear until we miss them and remember to treasure them as we ought. It could be that the Black Dog chews them up. Or is it that the words are taken away to teach us how to listen and see when we forget how?

Perhaps, as you try to fix the world, the broken pieces cut your fingers and the words bleed out, soaking into the clay until you can’t stand the brokenness anymore but neither can you express it.

It is never sudden, only gradual, unnoticeable. My words are fading with my grandmother’s eyes. Some were broken with my brother’s heart. Some were buried far from home. Some were devoured by the Dog. Some wasted away with the world’s cares. Some drowned in sorrow. Some were given to others who needed them more than I. Some merely sleep, not yet ready to be woken.

There are so few words left in any language that I know. They cannot be gone forever.

Everyone is talking, talking. I listen to some but cannot bear it.

I go to my room and close the door, and turn up the silence so loud that the whole house is disturbed by it.

I’m not stupid or sullen. It’s just that the words are gone.

I don’t know where they are but I hope that they come back before anyone else notices that they are missing.

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