This microphone
with its cable coiling around it,
bows to me.
I walk up to it,
open my eyes
my book
my mouth.
That’s right, I open my mouth wide
and begin my story.
They say
I speak too softly,
that I am practically mumbling,
that they can’t hear
the screams piercing.
I open
my memory
like a rotten cantaloupe.

They say
I have not managed
to forcefully convey the pitiless rage
of the cattle prod.
They say that in matters such as this
nothing must be left
to the imagination or to doubt.
I take out
the Amnesty report
and begin speaking through that ink.
I urge: “Read.”
I, in my turn, coil around
my bowing accomplice,
this microphone.
I urge action as a prescription,
information as an infallible antidote
and, one every knot is untied,
I recite my verses.
I resist. I am whole.

Copyright 1992 by Alicia Partnoy. Reprinted from Revenge of the Apple – Venganza de la manzana, published by Cleis Press, with permission from Alicia Partnoy. Translated by Richard Schaaf, Regina Kreger, and Alicia Partnoy.

This poem was originally read in the On Being episode “Laying the Dead to Rest.”