She said, “Love, the only thing that lives is letters.”
The truth is a clamour, is a great rocking vibration
that’s brittle and sex-shelled. That’s listening, a conch.
I’ve looked into that mouth, and asked: Did I know you
from my self’s start?
From the first crustacean dollop of my brain, where both
the speaking and the tongue are still sitting, undrained?
Our lives wonder each other, disassemble like engines,
the process sudden, apparent.
Stop midspeech, take the motor out your talk.
Click the conversation from its context into a grammar
even your mother used like false teeth: a means to an end
she could take off at night. Only knowing herself when she
was just gums.
Words shamed me, so I loved them.
Laundered and spelt, I’ve felt each sentence as strain,
a thin membrane pulled between throat and head until
I called from the nodes of my chest, instead, humming:
Is this where I learn into myself?
Already the writing sheets above me, cursive and prophesying,
doing meaning mean justice, doublestitched against time.
But sometimes here,
but sometimes here you’ll talk of language like a lover,
like a white-wash of water outside a church in the Karoo.
And this is how it separates you.
replaces The Words