How the Dumb Were Granted the Right to Have Sex
"1575--Lasso, a Spanish lawyer,
concluded that those who learn to speak are no longer dumb and should have rights to progeniture."
"Mujer muda, mujer estupida,"
the merchant said, while the
her head, waved her hands
and the customers continued, "Cuanto?"
Lasso stepped between merchant
took her hand in his,
led her past the cathedral, the
and into the arch of his home.
her mouth was stained black
from berries and he kissed her
How did he bring her to speech?
Not a kiss,
a kiss alone would not
unlock twenty years of silence
for insolence. He ordered
in bottles, and when
she drank, still no sound.
was first to hear the mute
From inside the bedroom, a high
full of vibrato, reaching for
insisting, "Más, más."
Jillian Weise's work appears in The Atlantic Monthly,
Chelsea, Salt Hill and others. She's the Fred Chappell Fellow
at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the recipient of an
Academy of American Poets award from Florida State University.