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I stole the torturer's tongue.
it's the first side of me some see
the first line you hear
first line of defense when I say
"See this long tongue illicitly acquired—
doesn't it suit me well?
hear these long words assiduously applied—
don't I wield them well?
wouldn't you be foolish if you tried to tackle me
in anything so complex as a kiss or a conversation?"
I stole the torturer's tongue!
hear this long tongue!
feel this long tongue!
this tongue sometimes my only tool
(not mine entirely, but what is?)
I was raised protectively of/as/by other people's property—
I got over that.
this tongue is yours too if you can take it.
I stole the torturer's tongue!
man wouldn't recognize this dancing, twining, retrained flesh
if it slapped upside the empty space in him head—
it will, it has; he'll pay for the pleasure.
watch him try an' claim as his own this long, strong old tongue's
new-remembered rhythms . . .
hear this long tongue!
fear this long tongue!
know this tall tale to be mine too, and I'll live or die by it.
I stole the torturer's tongue!

David C. Findlay is a thingmaker in music, visual art, text & other media. He is also a recovering Canadian who now resides with his main squeeze in Southern California. David still says "I'm sorry!" when people bump into him & spells "humour" wrong but is otherwise acclimatizing to his new home. His essays and poetry can be found in First Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far), Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, and The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet. "Stolen Song" first appeared in Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber.
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