Speaking in Silence

When I was a child,
I was taught how to be a boy.

My first lesson was
pain
is just another word,
for excuse.

My second lesson was in
silence.
I didn’t have it,
so they gave it to me.

They tugged on the flesh
where my tongue used to be
until all I can taste is black.
I wait for permission.

They let go.
I ask,
what is next?
My face is a painting of colours.
I learn my place,
is in silence.

My third lesson was in
restraint.
I didn’t have it,
so they beat it into me.
I learned to accept
suffering.

They tug on the flesh
where my tongue used to be
until all I can taste is
dry flesh scrapping asphalt.
I wait for permission.

At night,
I wake up in hot sweats.
I want to scream.

But I don’t have permission.
I have silence.
I have only ever had
silence.

They tear the flesh
where my tongue used to be
until all I can taste is
broken pieces.

I wait for permission.
Always in
silence.

Ahmed Yussuf

Ahmed Yussuf is a Melbourne based freelance journalist and founder of race and politics podcast, Race Card.


About Author

Ahmed Yussuf is a Melbourne based freelance journalist and founder of race and politics podcast, Race Card.

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