Friday, April 21, 2017

No Mouth To Scream

For five decades he has lived,
a disabled non-verbal adult,
at the ministering hands of staff,
in their varying moods of brusqueness,
efficiency, false cheerfulness,
stress, fatigue, or distraction.

They dress him,
shoving brittle arms into sleeves,
feed him, pureed glop,
spoon impatient for his difficult swallow,
bathe him, quickly, as the clock is ticking,
sit him in a wheelchair, park him in a corner.

Day after day, he lives
inside his mind,
unable to express a wish,
hoping the day person will be
gentle, unhurried, patient.
Some days are golden,
when the shiny one comes,
who asks him:
which shirt? this one? or this?
the one who laughs and sometimes dances,
acting silly, like a long-legged stork,
just to make him smile.
Her hands are gentle.
She tells him, one late night shift,
"I see you and you are beautiful",
and watches a single tear
roll down his cheek.

He has no words, but his eyes tell her
he is grateful.
He has no mouth
to release the scream that has
been building for fifty years
at his forced confinement,
the sameness of his days,
living in a world
of few choices,
trapped in a body that doesn't work.

But sometimes the golden girl comes,
and those days shine.

Grace. It is what makes us all
shiny dancers.

True story.  for  Magaly's  prompt at Real Toads: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream


  1. We must always thank the universe for the Graces with the heart, patience and wisdom to let the silenced speak with their mouths.

    This shines, shines... and sings.

  2. Powerful, Sherry, the light that shines through this poem. Many of my friends will appreciate this, too. If only we could always be the caretakers!

  3. Oh Sherry this one brought tears into my eyes such an incredibly touching story! I can't even imagine what that poor soul must go through and endure. Hope and pray good things for him.

  4. This is such a lovely write Sherry and one I can relate too having worked in similar environments.A little joy and a smile costs nothing but offers so much.

  5. Oh, Sherry. Grace, indeed.
    I felt the tension in this line, from both sides:
    "spoon impatient for his difficult swallow"

    So thankful for those who have the extra patience, practice that extra grace in life. SO.Thankful.

  6. Fabulous write, gave the mute soul a voice and let Grace shine! Grateful to read this today :)

  7. Oh Sherry, I felt this one down to my toes. I am thinking you are the grace, it sounds like what I know of you,


  8. Oh this makes me cry. My mom was trapped in a mind that was painfully erasing itself. She could talk, but was racing toward silence.

  9. Truly inspired, this. We should all listen to the voice in our heart, which you have richly echoed.

  10. Thank you for bringing this so vividly to life. And thank God and you for the golden girl.

  11. Thank you, Sherry. I didn't know that there could be such a person like this. It must be terrible not being able to communicate. But then too, he has been like this birth and so he doesn't know what it is like or what the feelings are when he sees others. Sign language? (Re)constructive surgery?

  12. What a beautiful, touching and humane poem Sherry, which brought tears to my eyes.

  13. He has no mouth
    to release the scream that has
    been building for fifty years
    at his forced confinement..

    I cannot imagine what this must be like.

  14. Dearest Sherry

    The title was so compelling, I hurried over this short span I return to Poetry World. What suffering. Yet the little joy makes living worthwhile.

    Powerful. Is. Grace.

    Shiny dancer indeed.

  15. Love this Sherry and that last line is so true and beautiful indeed!

  16. This was so very poignant and vividly described.


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