Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Variations On The Word Love

This is a word we use to plug holes with.
It's the right size for those
warm blanks in speech
for those red heart-shaped vacancies
on the page that look nothing
like real hearts.
Add lace and you can sell it
We insert it also in the one empty space
on the printed form
that comes with no instructions.
There are whole magazines
with not much in them
but the word love,
you can rub it all over your body
and you can cook with it too.
How do we know it isn't what goes on
at the cool debaucheries of slugs
under damp pieces of cardboard?
As for the weed-seedlings nosing
their tough snouts up
among the lettuces, they shout it.
Love! Love! sing the soldiers,
raising their glittering knives in salute.

Then there's the two of us.
This word is far too short for us,
it has only four letters,
too sparse to fill those deep bare
vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish
to fall into, but that fear.
this word is not enough
but it will have to do.
It's a single vowel
in this metallic silence,
a mouth that says
O again and again in wonder and pain,
a breath, a finger grip on a cliffside.
You can hold on or let go.
You can hold on or let go.