Annie Finch: This Living Tongue


Suppose that society is a lie, and the period is a moment of truth which will not sustain lies.—Penelope Shuttle, "The Wise Wound"


            11/21/88:  2 A.M. 

I grayed my heart this week, and kept away.

I filled my space with time, made time the way,

walking from place to place at certain times,

making the day their own, not mine, took time

for everything that has no windows, time

for nothing but heard shouts at night, just time.


11/22:  2 A.M.     Perceptions are so hard my self has gone.

Communications scare.  It's all the same.

Fear fills the awful organ, the whole brain

that lives around me.  Everywhere is gone.

Only the here I hear, some hands that came

to know the world, furl from this living tongue.


11/22:  3 A.M. Watch out!  You know it's me you could become,

me with my scary nights and solid tongue.

Perception's hell can shackle you to turns

of utter speech, as if we lived in urns

Annie Finch is the author of six books of poetry including Eve, Calendars, and Spells: New and Selected Poems. Her books about poetry include The Body of Poetry and A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry. She lives in Washington, DC. More information at