sporklet 16
Lauren Goodwin Slaughter
Ode to the Frog in Her Throat

There’s Ransom in a voice—/
But Silence is Infinity.”

~Emily Dickinson, poem 1251

To the swell




the bubble-up


of what she meant


but damn

that syllable


got stuck again,                                O


before ing

so when she goes


to sing

a plank comes out


on which she’s told                                      to walk


but hands bound


can only wobble

between deck

and the sea

of her beautiful




now a speck



into the dusk’s

silver          current


where twin-slunk

with the sun


her true intention

will be kept,          pressed to pearl-


silence.                                                                     And, safe.

Lauren Goodwin Slaughter is a 2021 NEA Fellow in Poetry. Her second collection of poems, Spectacle, is forthcoming in Spring 2022 from Panhandler Books and the University Press of Florida. She is an associate professor of English at The University of Alabama at Birmingham where she is Editor-in-Chief of NELLE, a literary journal that publishes writing by women. More at www.laurenslaughter.com.