I’ve longed in life for words, red-apple fat,
To fall for me in grace, in perfect time.
I wanted hard to be young when they fell
And be loved widely long before my death.
My hands were right. They knew to page-turn slow,
To labor over letters with a quake
Of one wee hand with one first word: a – t.
A country child with yellow hair, stick straight,
My careful bones began to carve away
What silent lips, once squalling, could not say.
My lips caught up. The awful seventh grade
Taught me debate, with fat Brett Herrington.
He sides with PETA, I oppose. I call
His reason clouded by his sentiment.
It’s glory to me. Often afterwards
They call me “Shakespeare,” whom I’ve never read.
Next comes love. With words, as well as boys;
The two are symbiotic: lichens, trees,
One feeds the other. While I write to see
I also write lest I be overlooked.
There’s guilt for this. Much like the pruned school nurse
had always told me that I wasn’t sick,
I think I can’t like boys, so I like books.
I cannot let life slip unwrestled with,
Uncaptured and unchronicled and – gone—
This is my two-edged sword, my pride and guilt,
My righteous passion, my gift to the world.
It is my idol, my long-gazing friend,
too often with me, yet not quite enough;
my mighty weapon and my ready salve:
With it I kill my friends and doubly bless
The neighbor whom my heart will never know.
Some long for figures, some for fancy hats.
I long in life for words, red apple fat.