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?