Comments 14

Hear The Ancestors Speak

There are motions that crack open the audios files inside my head. I don’t realise what they are until your voice is playing on the loudspeaker in my brain, blotting out all other thought with the echos of your absence. Salted caramel for the mind, both sweet and salty, love and tears. I will hit repeat until the lump in my throat jams the mechanism and you stutter into silence.

In the months where I’ve lost track of time, I cannot tell if you have begun to sound more like me, or if I am becoming you. Rolling the words around my mouth before I speak as if to stain them with your voice. Familiar phrases still clutter my tongue as I sift through the vowels jumbled between my teeth. You spoke so easily compared to me, I do not think anyone notices that I am using your words instead of mine.

Learning how to thread these sentences into conversations is a little like taking the waist of a dress in a few inches before learning how to sew. My first attempt was loose, hung off me in waves of excess fabrics, clearly too much for this frame to fill. Now I have perfected pinning those syllables to the slope of my belly, the valley between my breasts, the skim of thigh and knee and calf, the strain in the hollow of my throat. I can speak without catching my heels on the hem, so the words pout forth like water now. You are there in the current, but I have found how best to navigate the flood.

Roots grow down deeper,

seeking the center of it.

I am just one thread.


This entry was posted in: Poetry


Carol J Forrester is a writer and a history geek. Her debut collection 'It's All In The Blood' came out November 2019. She has a 2:1 BA degree in history from Bath Spa University, enjoys judo at least twice a week, and tries to attend poetry events around the Midlands when she can. Her flash fiction story ‘Glorious Silence’ was named as River Ram Press’ short story of the month for August 2014 and her short story ‘A Visit From The Fortune Teller’ has been showcased on the literary site Ink Pantry. Her poems ‘Sunsets’ and ‘Clear Out‘ were featured on Eyes Plus Words, and two of her poems were included in the DVerse Poets Pub Publication ‘Chiaroscuro’ which is available for purchase on amazon.Her poem ‘Until The Light Gets In‘ was accepted and published at The Drabble and her poem ‘Newborn’ was published by Ink Sweat & Tears. She has been lucky enough to write guest posts for sites such as Inky Tavern and Song of The Forlorn and has hosted a number of guest bloggers on her site Writing and Works.


  1. Good point in the haiku about each of us being only one thread. I don’t know where those words come from. That they could be from our ancestors is interesting.

    • We pick up a lot of our vernacular from our parents and those who raise us, so I was thinking of my Grandmother’s influence on the way I speak and argue when I wrote this. She had a big impact on my life and she was a very articulate woman. Something I try to mirror in myself.

  2. I love the idea of ancestors speaking to us, the connection between past, present, even future! The sewing sewing metaphor works great.

  3. It is strange how words form in our heads without us being really clear just who it is that is doing the talking. They are like threads that sometimes weave together to create meanings, sometimes not. Describing a haiku as a single thread that stands out from the rest is very perceptive.

  4. My ancestors speak to me every day and it’s important that they weave the threads and ground us. It’s uncanny that you started with the audio files inside your head – I’ve often wished I could project mine so that people could understand what I see.
    I love the absent loved-one playing on the loudspeaker in your brain and ‘blotting out all other thought’. I also love ‘Salted caramel for the mind, both sweet and salty, love and tears’.
    And yes, we do find ourselves sounding alike, using the same words. Other metaphors that speak to me are ‘Rolling the words around my mouth before I speak as if to stain them with your voice’ and sewing sentences – so beautiful.

  5. Interesting how voices from the past are always there speaking to us over and over again. I loved your Haibun. It is a perfect example of silent sound!

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