Every word whispered is plucked from the speech stream.
The vowels are weighed and clamped:
their density established. Consonants are laid-out neatly
in rows: their limbs plucked off with rapture.

The shifts of your irises left, left, left
makes me chew my words, my cud, my words.
These syllables sit like stones in my larynx.
When they finally manage to emerge they are muffled
and muddled and I long to inhale them back in once again
and push push push them down.
Down past my insomniac heart—
past my volatile liver,
down to the bottom of my gullet.
Soon my heart will join those half-masticated morphemes.

It’s those left, left, right shifting eyes that have
yanked too hard on the tether that holds
my heart in place. The rope has become worn.
The weight of that anchor pulls and pulls and pulls.
And as you pluck and prod words,
I plot to steal this heart—
this insolent stubborn sleepless valve— and then eat it.
Let me stop chewing words.
Let me reach down into my larynx and past my
dormant syrinx and pick that still beating heart.
I’ll eat that heart—left ventricle then right.

Then tomorrow when your eyes look left, left,
right again there will be nothing to swing
like a pendulum in my chest– tolling;
there will be no more tolling, no more telling.
I’ve stolen that heart and eaten it with relish.
I will steal the pears from your mother’s pear tree
in broad day light. Just to taste them. Then, and
only then, my words will be light again.

Then, only then, your left-left-right eyes will
no longer be master of the knell. And
think of what I can plant there with all that
new space. Maybe gladiolas—or a
perennial—something sturdy like a hosta.
Broad and silent and sleepy.