Four-Letter Word

These four characters,
Angled, curved,
And lined up just so,
Like all of the little arrangements
We employ to convey
Thought,
Feeling,
Depend on these –
Speaker,
Listener,
For translation.
(The British,
The American,
You see,
Are remotely
Distanced.
And look –
Even I
Have self-imposed
Limits.)

A flawed vessel,
I do not use
The language
That I do not use.
A yielding request:
Let me explain.
Others that stand alone
With more innocence,
Have caused me
Far more pain –
Hand and head,
For example,
Though these, too,
Can be lovingly construed.
But this symbol,
Etched black and blood-red
On the itchy
Bone-enclosed walls,
Travels a multitude of conduits
Seeking interpretation.
When poured forth
From my instruments –
Vibrating air,
Stained page –
The possibilities are narrowed
To three.

One,
And most often,
Thrown away
For slight emphasis
On a common,
Confused state.
Unreserved,
Blunt,
I mean,
What the…

Two,
And so rarely voiced,
You could count it out
On fewer fingers –
Angry dismissal,
When we have walked
An unending line
And to continue the dance
Becomes futile.
Fed up,
Frustrated
And unable to locate
The punctuation,
We resort to this.

And three,
The favored in-between,
Begins in a slow
Or fast lane,
Humming engines
In the dark.
A collision of flesh,
Shaking knees,
Bared beyond comfort.
And, like you,
Like he,
Like she,
We all –
Cast in bonedust and riversong,
The seed and the salty slurp –
Have our own fancies and freaks.
Lovingly whispered,
Sung or howled out,
A plea,
A request
Or a demand.

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About Emily

I may or may not have: A. Dirt B. Ink C. Paint D. Wool under my fingernails.

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