audiobook family in the romper room we kept all our ears on the shelves. our tongues were out to pasture. so, when i spoke, only yarn came out. we repeat stories in my house each time the details becoming more like glass. my father promises he was a soldier in the first world war. tells me about gatling guns & the trenches' spoiled dirt. he crawls into headphones just like me. i am a grub or a worm. my brother lights the tree on fire & calls it a prophecy. i try to put it out but just make it worse. the story goes like this "we are from the time of antiques. a rusted telephone. grinding eggs into dust." for hours we call for our tongues but they never come back. i ask my mother, "tell me a story without your lips." she closes her eyes & i close mine. we share a little dark kingdom where every mushroom is a telephone line to the underworld. in the whole house there is only one plug & we fight hungrily for it, especially at night. teeth like airplanes. clamoring to hear what the wall has to say. gives us stories about drowned girls & hitchhikers. when i get my turn my ears hum. i forget to worry about my tongue or drawers full of spare teeth. i am just a pocket knife being opened & opened. wooden dining room tables. my father, digging a trench to sleep in. i go with him, carrying my ears in my backpocket.