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Fable of the Tongue Bitten by the Teeth, and Ballad of the Walking Woman

From: New England Review
Volume 33, Number 4, 2013
pp. 158-159 | 10.1353/ner.2013.0027

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Fable of the Tongue Bitten by the Teeth

What we swallow, the salt letters, their blood-metal
linger. So others name your quiet for you: stone heart,
quicksilver. At ten, I called it brave, furrowed isolate
at the funeral, watching their long buckle and wail.
The wrenched guardrail where his car went over the bank
was like a letter torn out of a word. Its rusted ascension
a question my broken mother averted. Her gray eyes
locketed, empty rooms. But look at the stars, I wanted to say,
on the late drive home, as if they were proof, unfixed
and apart. Yet still we tether them into pictures. You have
only yourself was the counsel I kept, logic already my aegis.
I’d dream myself floating high above my bed while
the stars went on writing whatever stories they wanted.
Mourning the only song singing us to sleep.

Ballad of the Walking Woman

Roving warp of remember,
raveled weft of forget,
this burden I’ve carried, the burden
I set at the roadside each nightfall

that’s left to me. Cleft from me.
Waking, I’ll sing it behind me,
what’s left of me. Walking, I’ll sing it
away into nothing. Into nothing

I’ll carry it up the mountain
and back. Each day that turns me
returns me to my burden,
the nothing that he left me to carry.

Debra Allbery  

Debra Allbery’s most recent poetry collection is Fimbul-Winter (Four Way Books, 2010). She lives near Asheville, North Carolina, and is the director of the Warren Wilson M.F.A. Program for Writers.

Copyright © 2013 Middlebury College Publications
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Debra Allbery. "Fable of the Tongue Bitten by the Teeth, and Ballad of the Walking Woman." New England Review 33.4 (2013): 158-159. Project MUSE. Web. 15 Apr. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Allbery, D.(2013). Fable of the Tongue Bitten by the Teeth, and Ballad of the Walking Woman. New England Review 33(4), 158-159. Middlebury College. Retrieved April 15, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Debra Allbery. "Fable of the Tongue Bitten by the Teeth, and Ballad of the Walking Woman." New England Review 33, no. 4 (2013): 158-159. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed April 15, 2013).
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T1 - Fable of the Tongue Bitten by the Teeth, and Ballad of the Walking Woman
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JF - New England Review
VL - 33
IS - 4
SP - 158
EP - 159
PY - 2013
PB - Middlebury College
SN - 2161-9131
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/new_england_review/v033/33.4.allbery.html
N1 - Volume 33, Number 4, 2013
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