When Words Fail

February 16, 20182 min read

This poem is pretty ironic, because I’m using words to describe how I sometimes struggle with using words to express myself — I suppose irony is just a part of life. I’ve always been a fairly quiet person, and I find myself feeling like I should have something to say, even when I don’t. I sometimes feel strange in situations in which people expect me to speak. Even when I don’t feel the need to. This poem is supposed to capture a moment in time, when I’m dealing with this concept.

“Speak.” I think.

That’s all I can think.

“Say something, so they don’t think you’re weird”

“Say something, so they know you care.”

I’ve always struggled with knowing what to say in important situations.

And even in the trivial moments.

I’m afraid to say the wrong thing.

At the wrong time.

We live in a world, where people think it’s strange to be silent.

As if we always need to have something to say.

I’ve never been able to grasp that.

I’ve labelled it as my curse.

That I find peace in silence.

I’ve wished to wake up this talkative, outgoing girl who always knows what to say.

And even when she doesn’t, she still speaks.

But that never happened.

I continue to awake as one who shocks everyone on the rare occasion that she dares to share some of the thoughts that she spends far too long thinking about.

But maybe I can be the person who is there when words fail.

When the syllables just leave behind empty promises.

We should not fear the silence.

We should feel the collateral.

The collateral words and phrases that really hold nothing but oxygen.

“Listen.” I think.

Just listen.

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Deanna Whitlow

An internet enthusiast and book hoarder, Deanna is a passionate intersectional feminist who's always either writing or watching a movie. You'll find her with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other.