The Spaces Between Words


Gives me a chance to say

The things my voice can’t manage,

And it has taught me

That sometimes you say more

By not saying anything at all

Or just by saying less.

You can find more meaning

In what isn’t said

Than in what is.



Has taught me honesty.

There are secrets

In the gaps between my ribs

And they die before they reach

My tongue.

But ink on paper,

Fingers on a keyboard,

Short lines in a column

Down the page,

These make it possible

To speak.

In poems,

I can spill my heart,

Pull it from my chest and tape it,


To the empty page,

And only I will know

My truth.



Has taught me bravery.

There are words

I cannot say out loud.

When I try,

They get stuck in my throat,

And I choke on them

Before ever making a sound.

Poems are my voice

When I have none,

To tell the stories

I never meant to hide.



Has taught me that

People are poems,

Because they say more

When they’re silent, too.

They weave stories

With their smudged lipstick,

Messy hair, shaking fingers,

Fading scars.

Maybe they say one thing

When really they mean


You can tell the difference

By looking at the glint of light

In their eyes,

Or the bruises underneath,

Or the tired smile they offer

That’s not really a smile

At all.

But I would never have

Known this,

If poetry hadn’t taught me

How to read between the lines.


Poetry has taught me

That tongues lie,

And that poetry is a soul

Laid bare.


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