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I avoid speaking your name in conversation,

throwing it to the air as if it were nothing

more than an assumption of you; it is my last

mode of defense. The last item of clothing

to discard before I realize I’m naked in public.


Because they can hear it in my voice. I know. 

Even in that one short syllable that means 

everything and nothing. Your name is as common

as you are rare, as easy as you are not,

as simple as love should be, but never is.


But when I’m alone, I tie my tongue softly

round the familiar sound, as if pronouncing

with conviction the phonetics of desire

will cause time to pause just long enough

for the earth to hear me naming my loss.


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