Kay is looking for K.
And every other consonant.
And every vowel.
Her new voice is deep and plumbous;
her old one a singularity.

Her tongue molds strange syllables;
odd serifs lodge in her throat.
She endures jibes of brie, French sticks,
dumb cracks that numb the brain—
Kay, or who Kay was, tires.

Half Russian Dowager Empress,
half sultry French maid,
she inhabits a cerebral keep,
her exotic elocution
the butt of a neurological joke.

A signal switch thrown,
she can never return to the I
that once was Kay.
She walks on a foreign shore;
as you near it, even light bends.

Note: ‘The peregrine impediment’ was written as a response to this news article about Kay, a British woman who has foreign accent syndrome:


First published in Zetetic, 16 December 2016.