- How to Hear a Stutter, and: Stutterfied
How to Hear a Stutter
Do not say spit it out.I'm not chewing. I'm humming.
Do not interrupt.Bask in palpitation.
Do not look away.The eyes are eloquent.
Do not intercede.Presumption tapers.
Do not laugh. Nothingis more human than a tremble.
Do not mimic. The miming of frailtyis the mastering of frailty, and mastery is not frail.
Do not say stop and start again.A sentence is serendipitous.
Do not interrupt.I have my own walls already.
Do not say stop and start again.A word is a stairwell.
Do not hang up.Make silence your envoy.
Do not ask if I've forgotten my name.A name is not an order. It is an invitation. [End Page 68]
Do not intercede. Here is my voice,made of strain and spittle.
Listen. Hereis my voice, seismic.
Patience.Here is my nonvoice.
beneath disfluencyI say mosaic
beneath disorderI say texture say my own species of sigh
beneath distortionI say a gratuitous greenery
beneath impedimentI say a ghostly percussion a soft marginalia
beneath impuritiesI say the body as minute hand as calendar
beneath impairmentI say stuttered
beneath delayI say migratory say cloud shift
beneath deviationI say filigree say the body as city lights as cinema
beneath deficiencyI say innocent
beneath abnormalI say the air of elsewhere say bubbles and buoyant kernels [End Page 69]
beneath aberrationI say a single commotion say quartet
beneath abrasiveI say my own lunar surface
beneath prolongationI say prelude say like standing under a marquee
beneath repetitionsI say erratic as freckles as rain against the window
beneath blocksI say cliffhangers say steeped and slowly poured
beneath unableI say here harnessing a space
beneath untreatedI say attention say the breadcrumbs between us
beneath unsungI say here beside you say tendril [End Page 70]
Adam Giannelli is the author of Tremulous Hinge (University of Iowa Press, 2017), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize, the translator of a selection of prose poems by Marosa di Giorgio, Diadem (BOA Editions, 2012), and a person who stutters. His poems and essays have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post Magazine, New England Review, Ploughshares, Yale Review, and elsewhere.