The Unspoken Language of Speaking in Public

By Kathryn Barry


“The Unspoken Language of Speaking in Public” first appeared in Curry Arts Journal 2006.


The drumming

in my ears

beats the pulsating


My limbs


begin to perform

a tap dance.

Breathing, no longer

being effortless,

adds to my panic.


I am up next…


All this uncertainty:

in myself,

in my knowledge,

in who I am—

raw insecurities

for my “peers”

to judge


as if judgment

wasn’t endured

every second

of every moment

of every day,

carried out

by means

of myself,

the biggest critic.


“Kathryn Barry…”


Expectant eyes

slowly turn

in my direction.


I am numb.

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