When asked to take a stance, the word straightens,
feet braced apart, elbows jutting. Clears its throat
to field questions: Is it still the same?

Left alone, it talks motherese with the creatures,
plays in the shelter of large boulders.
The word finds precautions are never enough.

But then - the stage ready––it settles into lines,
stringing together. Why was it born? Who will attend
its funeral? The curtains swing open.

A cast of young actors befriend the word.
It has studied their repertoire faithfully, now it tries
to forget, trusting that lips will navigate

only by instinct––they don't. The word flings
and raves. Surrenders its feathered hat.
At the back entrance, it waves a quick kiss.

The audience disperses––heels click the asphalt.
Whispered into privacy, the word goes back  
to clipping, pasting, choosing.


(Salzburg Poetry Review 17. Spring 2010)