“Better Reasons” By Molly Fessler

What I didn’t say was:
Stop.
What I didn’t say flew out of my palms like bats, dark words with wings and thirst. What I didn’t say drove up from my abdomen, filled my nose with bile,

though they unzipped my gallbladder months ago.

What I didn’t say was:
No.
Syllables much longer, cadences much grander, epochs of everything; that is what this tongue is capable of.
They took my sister out of school and put her in a group home.
They took me out of the village and put me in a hotel room.
They took our bodies and played Twister with our broken limbs.

What I didn’t say was:
Enough.
Maybe my voice is a whisper I can muscle. Maybe I can scream bench presses, maybe
I can deadlift yells, maybe I can squat four-letter words.
enough.

Did you hear what I said?
Neither did I.

In the end,
What I didn’t say was:
Yes.


Molly grew up on a llama farm outside Detroit, and studied sociology and conflict resolution at Bryn Mawr College. In Molly’s non-writing hours, she works in Community Health, moonlighting as a yoga instructor, sociology teacher, and part-time nanny. Molly’s work has been published in Real Simple, NPR.org, and Cicada Magazine, among others. She bakes a fierce carrot cake. Molly’s favorite type of berry is blue and believes the best poems are written when stopped at a traffic light. 

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