Lyd Havens is a poet, performer, and Harry Styles impersonator originally from Tucson, Arizona. Their work has previously been published in Winter Tangerine, Cosmonauts Avenue, and Up the Staircase Quarterly, among others. Lyd is currently an undergraduate at Boise State University, studying creative writing and history. They exist at www.lydhavens.com
"Invocation for my Own Voice" O, all the places I’ve yelled while still coming off as quiet:
into an ocean. Across a mosh pit. With a mouthful of pillow and rage.
All those humid dive bars I had no right to be in. At poetry slams.
Do you know how often I think of the hinges on all the doors in
my childhood home? I think of how they squealed and whined
and begged when my father came home angry, then left
the same way. I’ve always been terrified of raising my voice, so I’ve learned
all the ways I can safely make a racket without beginning
to turn into him. I am a floor covered in bobby pins. The heaviest
pair of feet christening a flight of stairs. O, what a clamorous lineage
I was screamed into. The first time I actually yelled back, it wasn’t
at my father. It was at a boy I had a crush on. He called it cute.
Said I didn’t look like the bitchy type, but that was a good try. Lord, give me
the strength and power of every man who believes himself to be
the most scared knife-prayer. Just once, I want my throat to drip in garnet stones
and spite without feeling the weight of guilt I should have never been
cornered into. I want a healthy coping mechanism that still allows me to be
heard. Where do I find something like that? When will the hum of the happy hour crowd
downtown stop feeling like the anger management class I never
got to take? When did being angry become synonymous with being alive?
Is this what I was always meant to be? Once, I wanted to stop having a body,
and I guess now I have to be all voice. Last summer, I told my mother I was
thinking of buying a pocket knife, in case I ever needed it for protection. She looked me
up and down, like I had only just started being her child, and said,
That’s ridiculous. Look at you. You’d be better off getting a whistle.