Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a…

She woke up this way

Her voice was ragged and scratchy

Unable to speak.

The first time she opened her mouth

(It was to greet the doorman)

A moth fluttered out

It’s tiny wings flapping half-wild.


She snapped her jaw shut

Slapping her palm over her lips

Eyes gaping

Eyebrows pressed into her bangs.


She cleared her throat

Chm. Huh-Chm.

As she stepped out onto the sidewalk

Fingers now pressing into the space at the base of her neck.

She tried again.


It was a tiny squeak

Instead of a soundful



Chm, she repeated.


She thought back to the night before

And the curse she’d cast on herself

In her sleep

The curse of silence

Unless she had something wise to say.


It wasn’t until many years later

After years and years of cursed silence

That she realized her wisdom to share

She sat in the park

On a peeling grey bench

Her blue eyes finally bright again

Set in a face of worried wrinkles.

She looked down at the squirrels

(They were the only audience who’d listen now)

And she began

Her voice clear as day…


Once upon a time,

In a land far away,

There lived a silly girl

Who believed a silly thing

About wisdom and voice…

This poem was in collaboration with Brent Lampier, who gave me the prompt “Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a…

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