When you put the lock on my tongue,
that was some medieval dentistry;
performed before I knew
about informed consent,
and all the usual childhood stuff.
So, I became a telepath,
screwing with the antenna tv, broadcasting my thoughts,
burning the toast,
giving the garage door St. Vitus Dance,
and dispatching police and fire to our house with my brother's scanner.
Our neighbor three doors down
was the Chief of Police,
and he took me aside with the customary rubber hose.
The lock on my tongue precluded objection or outcry
and besides, I thought it was all normal
how he grunted as he swung,
and then holstered his gun in his face and blew his brains out.
I'll never tell.
You have three choices, you said,
of what to be in life:
a nurse, a secretary, or a hotel maid.
That's when I panicked and started the electric mixer with my mind.
What about hooker, homicide, hag, harridan?
What about paramour, prostitute, pill-popper, parasite?
Who knew I could make the kabob skewers fly through the air like that?
I stood mute during my trial.
Let your lawyer do the talking, they told me,
just as I learned to do at your knee.
Still, I couldn't restrain my nervous habit of jangling the lock on my tongue
during dull moments
like summation and sentencing.
Such a quiet girl, said the warden.
You don't see girls like her very often anymore,
especially doing a quarter at this facility.
It's been years, now.
The other women call me Metal Mouth
and ask if the cat's got my tongue.
They don't know that I learned how to pick the lock last week--
they only know that the guards are having trouble
with the system that seals the doors,
and that the toilets flush by themselves all night
without even anyone's head being shoved into them.
Wait til I can talk, mama.
You always wanted to know what I could have been thinking of--
well, that was it.
Now I'm gonna use my words,
my hour come round at last:
Look, ma! Top of the world,
and all that silence packed behind one long gorgeous scream.