Written by Trini Rogando


in the universe where you sip
from death and grow strong, every 
word of every poet clamors
insistently back in their throats. 
in this one—a happy marriage, a
woman discovering sex. 
in that one—a girl drowning, 
growing larger than the moon. 
you want to live forever and 
speak in future tongues? here,
we all do. last morning, we waxed
poetics and bartered time like coin
and thought our lungs grew enough
to inhale light dripping from the sun. 

by nightfall, those same split words
and gummed-up euphemisms clogged
our throats, dank with muted bile—
dark thickness. a womb, for those
who care to label it. for those who
do not yet fear the jagged syllables
of speech or the trembling musk of
clattering still. do you still want to
exist in stasis? dawn to dusk to dawn,
life and end made synonymous?

you think:
there is nothing you could ever say
to a man that shrinks from death;
nothing you could write that could 
cure his ails. no burning pill, light-
flavored, that could force the years of 
flooded words to evaporate into his blood. 
time is not a fluid currency and cannot 
be drunk greedily with cupped hands—

except, i say:
in this universe, 
where the poets’ eyes are weighty with sleep,
and our life looks like words that are 
light spilling, dribbling from sunlit mouths 
into the gaping dark morning. our dreams
take the form of sentences written to be swallowed
and gone. continuance screeches louder as it
dies to be renewed, rising and falling, 
movement conserved into stillness.

come, then—make your choice. sign it
in sunbeam and clutch at its warmth.
we all fear time. consign ourselves to belief.
what a poet writes is law 
if you only agree to stop.

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