Is it air pressing so hard on her shoulders and chest or her lungs expanding against their cage of bone that levitates her almost off her toes, as her locked hands

squeeze the small, dark, jacketed, rocket of a body up farther into what she is trying to say? The heart makes its urgent countdown, vocal cords shiver, chin tilts up, lips part:

the sunflower she grips sidewise would flail her toward speech. How hard we listen, straining to hear. But she is not allowed, in this art, to speak. Nor is the pasty white clown face

hers. The air lies against her like clabber. Her eyes are starred black X’s, her nose a torch. And still She rises, darkly, into something no one of us should say.

Rosanna Warren for Maxine Yalovitz-Blankenship