I don’t hold words like I’m afraid of them leaving.
I don’t like dissections (7th
grade bio
was only good because of the teacher,
certainly not the
instruments too sharp to make sounds)
but I like feeling them melt,
like the moment when someone relaxes
in your arms.

Letters don’t dissolve.
They link and unlink
like atoms,
like fingers but
unaffected by the changes in calluses,
like ice cubes fusing together in a cold glass
and separating again.

And when I talk,
maybe I fall apart across my words
because I don’t have the time to tell them how lovely they each are
Maybe I get so red
because the savoring of syllables is my coolant,
and when it’s absent,
what’s the point of language?

So if I don’t answer you,
I am looking at each letter of your name beneath a microscope.
I am wondering on every time
that sentence has been spoken in history;
vocabulary is inter-disciplinary
and I don’t have the armspan to hold every alphabet I’d like to know,
but I don’t keep the pieces of your name apart like a class schedule.
Sure, the middle piece is a mystery,
but have you ever hesitated across the exhale who?

Don’t treat it like a handle,
or an honor,
or an unwanted halt in your day’s scatter.
Don’t treat it like a science project;
don’t allow yourself the vanity of thinking it a discovery.
It is a word.
It’s been waiting so long for you to let it stay.


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