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by Michael Constantine McConnell

I’m looking for a word to stretch my ribs when I lie
on my back connecting stars for vision. I seek
a descriptive word that doesn’t yet know the taste

of water, has yet to feel wind push invisible
arms through trees or see a nighttime sea mohawked
in moonlight. I want a birdlike word to spread-eagle

and christ across the sky, dissolve into steam,
evaporate like a name nobody can remember.
I need a word to resurrect the lost art of forgetting,

to revive the image of your mouth fading to a hoar
of silver roots, lightly braising my lips and, each night,
closing my face to sleep. I need a word to touch your hands,

gather a bouquet of fingers, hear your tongue loop
syllables, hiss shadows that drag their porcelain teeth
over ash. I need a word that doesn’t necessarily end

with a period, ellipsis, or question mark.
I wonder who will marry you, bury you, clasp
you in memory, count each lonely freckle,

chant each sullen remorse. “Stillness” isn’t quite
the word I’m looking for, but it will do for now.

Freshwater, Spring of 2007

Posted in Poetry

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