Friday Poem

The Nature of Words

Except for the order to which they belong,
I do not know the names of the butterflies I follow.
Some words like Lepidoptera delight by their flutter
Demulcent, evanescent, ephemeral, fenestration, moraine.
I do not pin them down or make demands

If I find a word to love, I explore with drunken wonder
Under the covers the convolutions of its typography.
If I am a lover of words, are words my lovers?
Lenticular, gravisphere, arête, paternoster lake.

Who am I with this one? Do I associate with another?
With some, I procreate, turning tender thoughts their way,
Giving birth in springwater. But words can be undisciplined.
Perhaps not innately bad but brought up to slip one by.
Split estate, water rights, the elk harvest in the fall.
Blame their fathers, who act without shame.

They engineer the tongue to click, to claim
through contrivance, to make it stick. Question these words,
call them into account, bust the teeth of despotic jaw
Eminent domain, terrorist threat, hegemony, original sin.
Codified perception is the jail of tiny laws.

by Chavawn Kelly
from You Are Here, 2010