Freedom of Speech Along the Walls of Troy

There is a difference between being voiceless
and being mouthless and being struck dumb

there is a difference between being tongueless
and being tongue-tied and speaking always in tongues

the earless people turn their backs on you
in sweet disgust and bathe themselves
in purple cloth and feast on slaughtered oxen
and drink wine and lick their dripping fingers dry

while like a broken bird of prey you keen death knells
and screech into the empty void of sky

you swallow truths like cats-eye marbles down your gullet
saying it is better to be mad than to be mute forever
you are overcome by the old overwhelming need
to say what must be said –

Apollo, Apollo, O I am destroyed

[Margaret Wack has had her work previously published in ditchEclectica, and Strange Horizons, among others. She lives in Massachusetts.]