When at a loss for words—during, perhaps,
a time of want or desire, when one’s body
is overwhelmed by light, as if by the effect
of Ketamine or MDMA, when overwhelmed
by the weight of the moment, the silence,
the look of disappointment in a lover’s eyes—
what do we call the moment, then, when
the words are finally summoned, like a
sparkle of fireflies, and by grace, by the
mercy of the night, what was damaged
has been restored? Freire spoke that one reads the world
before they read the word
, which suggests that the
first stage of language is in the experiencing of a thing
to the point of knowing; in this knowing,
then—of song sparrows and house sparrows,
of catbirds and European Starlings, of a lover’s wants
and needs, one could say, genuinely, that knowing
to the point of the words conjuring themselves
is, perhaps, the truest form of love.

In Los Angeles, my lover drove me to the airport.
It was mid-summer, and along the highway, the neon sun
poked through a grove of palm trees, its corona
pink with a thick haze of smog. In my youth,
in the hope of producing a kind of love, I attempted
to acquire the words to conjure a new world—of which
I was god—not god as in God, but yes, as in the creator.
After watching the television series WandaVision, I see now
how foolish a person can seem when they want to be loved.
Maybe foolish isn’t the word. Anyway, we stopped
to eat ramen a few miles from the airport, and when
we returned to the car and sat inside, she leaned into me and
whispered the words, Don’t go. I whispered back,
I don’t want to go. And yet I did. I flew back
to LaGuardia on a red-eye flight. What is the
word for the kind of sadness that comes
from having to leave a place where one is loved?
What is the word for a lover who says,
I don’t want to go but goes?

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