Michelle Henson


An Angry Laughing Mouth

My mouth, it screams secrets to the world,
Telling of injustices and victories,
My voice angry sometimes, sometimes serene,
Yet always yelling.How else to hear over the clamour of tongues?

My mouth, an angry mouth,
Telling of slicing and of ripping and tearing,
My voice strong and far-reaching,
Yet always yelling.

How else to drive words into ears that don’t listen?

My mouth, a laughing mouth,
Telling of tricks and games and delights and joys,
My voice trembling on the cusp of hilarity,
Yet always yelling.

How else to be heard over raucous laughter?

Then came the surgeon’s hand, cutting and silent,
Gashing a new mouth, prying it open, then stapling it closed,
All the while, silent, and silencing that which dared to hope,
Muffled unto the quiet of death.

And who was there to hear the sound of weeping?

now my mouth is a crying mouth,
whispering of treachery and lies and hopelessness,
my voice barely audible and my tears hot as stones
never yelling

who would listen to my words anyway?


About Michelle

I am a mother of 5 children, soon to be 6.  I had an unnecessary C-section with my second child, and have been fighting for the birth I wanted ever since.  I wrote An Angry Laughing Mouth after the C-section birth of my daughter in 2009.  I went into the hospital dilated to 8cm, and they raced me to surgery, to see if they could cut me open before my daughter was born.  I felt completely disempowered and as though no one heard me.  After that birth i struggled with depression for a while.  It was very hard to feel as though what I wanted did not matter.  The poem came out of that sense of helplessness, and out of the myriad of experiences already surrounding childbirth.  When you add an unwanted C-section to the mix, it becomes a frightening mix of emotion, at least for me.

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