love poem in the way of a late game of scrabble

Xiao Yue Shan

since from incoherence we are to distinguish

language. fragments of which we did not create

but feel still somehow responsible for possessing,

the luminous homing-down of letters in the right

condolences of a word—unrimmed darknesses answered

like time by minutes. I’ve thought about it in the odd night,

facing the empty page, counting on dreamwork and creases

to scatter forward in the same senseless order of wooden

tiles, to make what I have to say about you make sense.

how easily language comes to us, then how difficult

to sculpt this substance into the broad positions of living,

safe consonances on a splayed piece of cardboard

the cruel resolution to what I have tried to do with

all these pieces of sentences. all these pieces that are not ruins.

you are studying the row of neat squares before you,

unsmiling. you are writing figures in mid-air in dissolution,

in reformation. these sentiments. these ideas coerced

by this world that insists towards order. I wish I knew

a better way. looking at you, the hair by your ears curled

in cirrus shapes. your imbalanced mouth which strands

me on my body of wanting. the shape of love is a line,

that which everything hangs upon and nothing rests,

but the shape of the whole world faces us in squares.

the branching architecture of our own private definitions

within which speaking and silence are holding each other.

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