The Song

As published in the Waldorf University’s Crusader, Spring 2014, Volume 7
Salveson Prize Honorable Mention in Poetry

You love her in silence

like the cardinal on the frozen branch

puffing out its scarlet chest, full

heart expanding in cold morning air,

lima-bean lungs bursting with inhale.

You love her quietly. Eraser shavings

on seats of diner booths. Scrawled pencil markings

on white napkins, tracing patterned designs

of cloth, feeling each raised vowel

under fingertips. You love her unspoken:

a flower for each freckle above her left eyelid,

names carved into tree bark, initials on padlocks

secured to rusty metal bridges, a quiet brush

of lips on skin between shoulder blades. Then

your red chest widens, ribs bend as lungs

stretch like balloons. This single kiss blossoming

into voiceless song.