Caught Voice

Phoebe Walker

To start, a star.
A lily, floating calmly
on the red swell of your throat.
Then, lazily, stretching its arms,
little seed-pearls budding
to make a pale mosaic
that declared itself a masterpiece
and sprawled,
demanding more square inches
of your cowering, mumbling mouth.
Robbing you of one, two, three decibels,
your spitballs,
your taste for marmite and tea.
beaching your tongue
in the dry sag of your jaw.
And, bored now,
picking delicately at your voice.
Peeling it to a grunt, a rasp,
a wick-thin whisper.
Then only hands,
spasming before a stitched on mouth,
Calling, again and again,
The caught voice forth.

Phoebe Walker

Phoebe Walker grew up in Hexham, Northumberland and, while always a fanatic reader, only became interested in writing as a teenager. Over the last few years poetry has become her chief obsession and she has won the Foyle Young Poets Award in 2007 and 2009 and the Ver Young Writer's Award in 2011.

Her poetry has also been commended in the Yeovil Literary Prize 2010 and published by the youth division of the National Poetry Society and the QUB literary journal. She currently lives in Belfast where she studies English Literature at Queen's University.

Caught Voice won first prize in the Jitegemee Poetry competition.

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Caught Voice © 2011 Phoebe Walker: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.