A Survivor’s Ventriloquism

By Christina Hennemann

Why did you open your mouth?

The tomatoes in the backyard 
remained green all summer. 

Why did you inhale?

The wind carried desert through the open 
window, left a hazy cover on the bookshelf. 

Why didn’t you speak? 

Birds don’t nest in water butts, 
they shit on the lid as if cacophonising. 

Why did you close your mouth? 

Against the falling rain crept worms 
and weeds, the window was closed. 

Why did you swallow? 

Forever is a gluttonous word,
nobody hangs white clothes on the line.

Christina Hennemann is based on the West Coast of Ireland. She’s a recipient of the Irish Arts Council’s Agility Award ’23 and she was longlisted in the National Poetry Competition. Her work appears in Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, Skylight 47, The Moth, York Literary Review, The Storms, Impossible Archetype, Ink Sweat & Tears, Moria, and elsewhere. www.christinahennemann.com