Tricia Knoll


Listen to the audio version.

I start the poetry reading by first testing the mike.

      I have a voice disability.
      It is not cancer.
      It does not hurt.
      I am not afraid of you.

That doesn't mean I'm ignorant
of irony, a word person who can't talk
without glitches and droppings. Who has heard
every variation of kind what-did-you-say's?
Who seldom tells jokes; who can remember
punch lines when you're lucky to get matters said?
It does sound like I'm afraid of you.
You probably don't believe me.

Maybe I once was afraid and it stuck.
A sort of voodoo punishment
for lack of trust. Or faith.
When you ask what it is,
I say's it's a disconnect
between my vocal chords
and my brain
(which sings folk songs
about lonely cabins
in the woods
without a hitch.)


Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet who lives with two dogs in a green woods. She has spasmodic dysphonia, a voice disability. Those dogs seem to understand her perfectly except when she wants them to stop chasing chipmunks. Her work which appears widely in journals and anthologies has received 8 Pushcart nominations. Her most recent collection How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House) received the Gold Prize for Poetry Book Category for Motivational Poetry in the Human Relations Indie Book Prize for 2018. Website: