The Written Word
by Terri Lynn Cummings

He stuck a pencil behind his ear
lead blunted from words on paper chains
that weighed more than iron.

She reads, mixes his sentences
with flour and salt until yeasty aroma
lures her from a life of secret sleet

then drifts into his realm
held forth like communion.
Yet, how do words bear life?

They cannot stroll through a story unread
though bang their fists when called on.
Lungs demand the labor of language

all splinter, spark, and ash of it.
Voices resurrect dried pen
vision fills the barren page, until

sparrows commune within tall grass abbeys
autumn paints with molten tears
books thicken the marrow of bones

and hearts
to the light.

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