My own words ricochet

back into my face,

splintering flesh,

with the impact

of mindless syllables

muttered under my breath,

barely audible

but heard nonetheless.


Words spewed

into the atmosphere,

involuntary but vile,

words I should have vomited

into any empty vessel

and plugged with

a lead stopper.


Words spilled

onto sacred ground,

scattered in a garden

for the innocent

to find like tantalizing

red berries

on a poisonous bush.


by Gloria Heffernan 

Gloria Heffernan’s poetry collection, What the Gratitude List Said to the Bucket List, has been accepted for publication by New York Quarterly Books. Her chapbook, Some of Our Parts, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018. In addition, her work has appeared in over fifty journals including Chautauqua Literary Journal, Stone Canoe, Main Street Rag, Columbia Review, Louisville Review, and The Healing Muse.

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