Lost Language

By Terry Jude Miller

Honorable Mention, Poetry, Create | Encounter 2021


before we can form words

before we have a mouth

we speak

in the vocabulary of the body

all of us here

all not here

all who are seen

and the unseen

all who are valued

all who are devalued

for lack of sentience

for redefinition into a mass of cells


for those--language betrays them

the rhyme of the scapula

the iambs of flesh

system shut down is initiated

what would have been eyes

what would have been the tongue

what would have been the arms

that reached for a mother

vacuumed away to the realm

of non-personhood


silencing its song

within cremation flames



Artist Statement:

Terry Jude Miller is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet from Houston, Texas. His work has been published in scores of publications including the Southern Poetry Anthology, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ “Encore,” the Texas Poetry Calendar, and more. He is a member of the Academy of American Poets and the Poetry Society of Texas. He is the creator of the Texas Poets Podcast.

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