In The Beginning, There Was A Sound

Ashley M. Jones


After I was born,

I cried for three months straight.

My mouth, a great brown crack

in the Alabama soil,

sprouted wondrous wails.

My tongue,

a cotton candy spade,

licked the air,

and it tasted of ticking

and the salt

of baby formula.

Each day,

I was a siren.

Five o’ clock, exactly,

and I’d scream until nightfall.

Alive, I said.

Pain, I said.

Maybe I stopped

because it is hard

to keep roaring.

Maybe because

I felt the warm burn

of my mother’s

loving ear.


because we grow up,

and at some point,

there’s nothing

more to do

with a voice

than to hum drum

and whisper

as loud

as you can.