May 8th 2016

The Word That Means Too Much
by lynn sanford

There is a strange word in this world:
everywhere on earth people pivot upon it—
a lover in the throes of passion;
a man on the street who has lost his hat and it’s so cold
his teeth clatter as he crinkles a small bill in his pocket
and he has no idea where to get potato chips so he spits out—fuck.
By the time he learned the word
he already missed a chance to keep believing
he had ever known what he needed to know about it—
before war taught him guilt by association;
before he witnessed Hell splatter;
before fuck was all he could say,
all he could hear or think when everything turned ashen
and he lost memory of enthrall;
of the green and blue ecstasy of happiness—
back when the word signified love
although he had always been forbidden to use it.


Inspired by the beloved Ellery Akers poem:
“The Word That Is a Prayer”

lynn sanford 5-8-16