Parts of Speech
What kind of word is love?
Is it a noun, something we point
To like a tree or a bird,
The first cresting of a winter sunrise?
Or is it just a sterile abstraction
Summing mysteries we couldn’t describe otherwise?
There are those who say love is action
That it must be understood as a verb.
Holding your hand in the dark
Lashing you with wet spaghetti
When you’re trying to stir the sauce
A glass of bourbon waiting for when you get home
After the boss forgot to give you a break.
It’s showing up, every single day.
Bringing you coffee
Flowers at work
Belting out Sweet Caroline in the shower
But substituting your name.
Being there at the finish line
Noticing when you bloom
Never looking through you
Always having time
A series of acts that becomes a way of life
And near the end it stops moving so much
As everything else slows down.
Less is needed, less is done.
As things stop happening, a world takes shape.
It becomes a noun again, a proper noun
With a capital L
Like a person with a name
That can only approximate the totality
Of all the things done
Of everything we have touched
Of all we have left.
It isn’t close to being enough.
But I can whisper your name
As you snooze against my chest.
Some things must be named to be known
No matter how paltry the parts of speech.
We do the best we can.
We wait for the sun to pause its dawn ascent
For the clocks to momentarily stop
For a world rife with too many verbs and nouns
To dissolve into a wordless here and now
And in the space before our next collective breath,
I whisper your name, the Love of my life