When I’ve finished writing my dictionary, things will be different in this world among English-speaking people and between you and me. When we first learned them, words were something hefty we could thrump with our knuckles the way we test a melon. Sentences were machines that moved objects through space. We could catapult rock through window and glass would shatter. When we met, we could have counted the words we didn’t agree on. Now, who knows what anything means? Now, instead of speaking, I buy something or pick up an actual rock. I want to agree on love. There shouldn’t be ambiguity about value or honor or peace or, for that matter, person or faithful or promise. The grammar, I think, is still serviceable; it’s the words that are now just names for things we’ve forgotten. I own you, is what I’m saying, my darling, as renominated in the interim edition (ms p. 472), though we may no longer see much of one another. I own, in the same sense, your breath, which is your corporeal vividity, and of your pulses, the sanguine and the diurnal. I think you know who owns mine. If not, a glance at my new thesaurus might be helpful, or you could pick up the phone when I call. I understand you’ve been in the building several times a week. That severs me. You leave me no choice but to arrange an accident. Is it inevitable, I wonder, or is someone to blame when words divorce from sense? It probably doesn’t help to debate what is is or what other people means. Now only excuses, words once were deeds. Ah, well. I’ll send a copy to your last address as soon as I’m texted and bound, or toss it through your window. Yours always,

Copyright © March 22, 2008 David Hodges