This poem appears in the Fall 2021 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe to the journal, click here.

Word is hello, is house,
The arrival in the ride.
It is the root that grows,
The uttered oath, the bride
Beside, before the altar,
Before decisions falter.

Word is the inside-out
Of loneliness’s pillow,
The certainty of doubt,
A shimmer on a billow
At the horizon’s edge
Beyond the garden hedge.

Word is white before
Its colors can begin
To chronicle its lore.
It speaks our speaking: in
The beginning was the word,
It’s what the silence heard.

Word, in time, we break
Or give, spread or keep.
It may ring true when fake,
Taken on faith, asleep.
Adam and Eve would fault
A word for their lost gestalt.

Word is the tongue on watch
For what might crack the crust,
The thumbprint ash, the blotch
On a brow, forecast of dust.
Its breath is what engenders
Breath in the earth it renders.

It is the code of law
That conquers kings with a sword
Too fine for shock and awe.
A spaceship carries word
In a time capsule. Its nib
Is the point of Adam’s rib.