after Elizabeth Hoover

            a hum is a swallowed song
you don’t have to keep

            the same day a man yelled at me
on my corner, you gave me more makeup

            a clutch with watercolor irises on it
purpleblue like the ones my mother calls mine

when they come in each year

             I still cry alone when I sing for people, let them see

             how careful I must be with my breath

             in the world of men this will not make you
feel better, you say

this will not get you free

our voices sound so strange to us
             because we hear ourselves most

             with our inner ear, our bones and cartilage

listen, is it true I don’t want to be afraid

my hand is opened, I take from you, the flower

           again, among all this silence, still grace

Conor Scruton lives in Milwaukee, where they research ghost stories and are a poetry editor for Cream City Review. Their work has appeared in CutBankPuerto del SolSalamander, and other journals. Find them @conorscruton on Twitter.

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