language by Clarise E. Reichley

since i've been learning to contort my tongue into a foreign dialect 
language has
deepened its meaning. 
i have to relearn how to say
'i love you'.
and i am driving a stick shift convertible in the rain

i’ve driven wordless into a world
rich with description.

‘i love you’,
sounds so much less beautiful
when you're unsure of the pronunciation.

without words to express my unknowing
i trip on the gilded road leading to expression
and i must teach myself
the nuances of a smile placed on ‘love’,
the emphasis on ‘you’,
the stutter on ‘i’.

this freshness forces me into illiteracy
and i am prepared only with an
inexperienced, naive

stuck in the guidebook of mutilations
so extremely different
from the comfort of
phonetic syllables.

who ever heard of someone reading a manual on how to say,
‘i love you’

i love you
is a feeling
not an instruction
and this new version of affection
feels like an unpoetical, exchanged skin.


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