Margot Smith

Damaged Laughter

Awkwardly, it hiccups into the air
colliding with the space around us,
hovers there, stuck
It shuffles it's feet like an welcome guest
then dissipates.

Her laughter is rare
only showing it's mangled face during
romantic comedies
and days at the beach when she forgets dad is drunk.

This laugh is a half laugh.
Something ripped her vocal cords
tore up her diaphragm.
Now her laugh is an urgent half truth
whispered to an adolescent friend.

The secret she can't tell she screams
loud, alarming in her brown eyes
though a calloused hand covers her mouth
with fingers yellow, reeking of cigarettes.

I'd like to think she is either to weak or too frightened to rip the hand off her face.

The phantom limb phenomenon has begun to constrict her breathing,
but she's holding on to the phantom's other hand.

Poem Submitted: Monday, June 28, 2010

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