Emily Safron

The Word For Our Relationship


I have worried it like a lip,

turned it over with my tongue

like a peppermint;

I have chased it with my eyes.

But it’s been blurred

by the tar lines that hold together

the hemispheres of my brain,

and published under the obituaries

next to the chances of us being together.

It has been distributed to

and collected by

jack-o-lantern ladies in toaster houses,

lost in the insatiable baby whines

of bills and dirty magazines.

It has been made as impersonal

and uncontradictable

as the smile you direct towards me,

your thoughts on someone else.

I pick it up off the floor,

and swallow it.