Monday, February 8, 2010

Dictionary Lover: A Haunting

Rivers of fabric were drowning her in the morning.

how to find him? all the clothes left behind, the hairs in the drain. knit a new lover out of these things? give him charm and expensive taste, a love for back roads and boiled peanuts.

The house empties it’s contents all over her.

She writes an opera to raise him from the dead, thinking in gestures. A reach into space presumes there is something to reach for; this is more like a grope.

Living in a convent of language, she writes a womb back around her, trying to go inside so she can come back out. Somewhere dark, pink –A quilt of flesh.

She keeps a close eye on his complete set of Oxford English Dictionaries; they are changlings switching places on their own. The numerals on the volumes manifest codes in each new arrangement. They come out with Morse screams, dash dot dash dash howl. She pretends its not torture.

Secretly, she hates the sun.

the dictionaries have written
frantic couplets
in the dark
spooning or stacking
to show intentions and
hideouts like so many vowels
gasping from another world
so stop her
as she recollects the “we”
and she said, I live in a convent
of language
he would tell me love through
the pores of life
and death
I know him, I know he would.

The shelf holding the dictionaries has begun to sag in the middle, as though each day
the volumes were filling with more words, glutting themselves from the inside out. They even begin to appear plump at the edges, glossier, greasier. They are growing obese –ripe blue gold systems.

Ok, she says. She needs to know where he’s gone, the house is sagging now, the air got heavy, the pillows on the bed weigh seventy pounds each. Ok, tell me.
codes codes not numbers
letter codes
not riddles, sonnets
washing bright swatches
into the rooms showing
long fields acres
breaking between the pewter
he writes:
don’t believe
everything you read
in heaven. open
a dictionary. dash dash stop
dot dash scream howl

She stops, hefts up each greasy, shining volume into her arms, feel it’s fleshy jacket, inhales it’s pheromones. They are human? No. But she is suddenly filled with desire for them, as though they were him.

She takes them to bed, arranges them on his side, tucks them in, gropes them each morning. They feel warm, even soft.

channels in the earth,
the sinew of letters
or genetic language
ooze from my afterlife
through some night gland
in dreams to yours
I drip words
caustic or blooming.

you were all I was
or could think of as
I lingered over every kind
of geography,
haunt you they said
in croaking whispers
show her the love code.

Honey-blood, I
haunt you still.


  1. honey-blood is like a wonderful norse kenning. it pairs so well with "the house is sagging now."