Rerouted Due to Weather

Sarah Grieve

          “For a language to survive, it’s got to be spoken by men and women in bed.”

                     —Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis

The sheets are full of punctuation — dashes

          and colons, once randy, have rolled over

and we didn’t notice, just as we didn’t notice

          when the police chopper filled our motel window

with its search light, the pilot mistaking us

          for meth dealers who stay at seedy dive hotels

to cook up a deal or peddle their wares

          because if we were criminals or ne’er-do-wells,

we wouldn’t define wonky and kumquat

          and cattywombus in the mornings when floor boards

cackle and snap, when stray dogs scratch at doors

          trying to find the welcome mat they remember;

we wouldn’t leave the motel and sit at LAX

          watching the screens announce take-offs and delays,

guessing at the Buenos Aires bound briefs

          in leopard-printed suitcases, and wanting all things

translated into another language, one that turns

          waiting list into lista de espera, espera the feather

of the phrase, tumbling in its descent, lilting

          soft on the tongue the way you used to tell me, breathe,

as if saying it would send air through my lungs,

          expand my capillaries, open my pores so words

like chaparral and chinchilla could fill me, shine

          light upon our nakedness — once again, the sighs

and commas simmering between us saying,

          Vieni con me. Suivez-moi. Come on. Let’s go.

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