Run your finger down this page. Don’t fear it
the way you have feared others like it;
as if the barbed wire hook of ‘h’
or an unforgiving shard of ‘v’ could slice
your hand open
on a whim.
Even the language of language drops anchor,
a one-vessel panic attack.
You gaze down at them:
affricatives a rattling admonition
from a far-off fleet,
aspirates the gasp of a drowning woman
as waves do the word’s bidding.
The bookshelf is a row of perfect-bound landmines,
spine-brassed with the names of those already fallen,
hearts cut out in their prime
by the mechanical silence of full stop after
Semi-colons like spent casings.
The only canon you do not fear
is that tight, trusted band of brothers
numbering only in their hundreds:
enough nouns hammered into the hard earth,
(a spade always was a spade)
with enough capricious verbs to rope a corral
and keep you from escaping.
Yes, for you words are violence,
because words lead unquestioningly
And thoughts are black, bloody murder.