Looking in the Mirror by Margaret Wagner

My lips on the right side have an open space
like a squiggly line drawn by my four-year-old self.
“Close your mouth,” my mama said, “Your upper lip will curl.”
My lifelong struggle to keep my mouth shut, stretching the upper lip
over my horse front teeth, like a t-shirt that rides up.

All those words, all those words not spoken back.
Only the slow seep of air through the crack in my lips, whispering…
        No, I can’t say it,
        No, I’m not sure I should,
        No, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.

The tsunami that’s at the cusp of the deep dark crack in my lips
just broke free…free, free, free,
opening my mouth in the widest yawn to sing
No, hallelujah. No, hallelujah.
Hallelujah…yes, yes, yes.

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