Stop me from talking

I want to listen

To sit and hear you talk

I want to be told things

 

But I can’t stop myself from talking

I can’t help but respond to everything I hear

Teach me how to keep quiet, how to listen without responding

 

You are telling me about when you were spanked

I do not know why I have to tell you about my own spanking experience

The time that man looked under your skirt

I do not know where the story of that girl in the neighbourhood who was molested comes from.

 

Teach me to listen

I now do not know how you ended up on the boat to Italy

Because my tongue spilled half-known stories of exes who migrated.

 

I ask you to pick up the story from where you left it, where I do not remember

You oblige but forget to tell me not to take what looks like your thunder before it gathers steam

And so I start talking about postcolonialism and all the isms that take us away from your story.

 

Does imprisonment help people who do not know how to control their tongues?

Is there a school for listening?

Where do those who can’t listen go to learn how to listen?

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