I’m building an almanac out of words from magazines.
The bits of letters claw through each other Brassiere! Calcium!
Triskaidekaphobia! toward each other. Here
at the end of a long oak table spotlit by bankers’ lamps,
I’m pasting Lemongrass! the words
and positioning Poncho! them with tweezers,
Loudly! Pawn Shop! sifting through
the small oblong shapes of the cutouts stolen from
Good Housekeeping, Vogue, Vanity Fair,
and the Atlantic Monthly.
I scan through my little compendium Compendium! for interruptions
Dinosaurs! and Pin Cushions! sailing through my head.
How loud I am inside—and no one knows.
The man at the circulation desk adjusts his bifocals
and nods Gently! to himself while sipping overbrewed coffee.
Old women unzip Sparingly! their polar fleece. Shag carpeting!
A crocodile! A machine! A satisfaction!
How much more of this can I enjoy without leaping
Questions! and Damnation! from my silence?
This is what I want. Lawn gnomes!
To discover Crab grass! Renewable energy!
how the vestiges of the pages are talking,
how the salt-crusted boots of the readers on either side of me
lie dark Stammering! against the wood floor.
In my pocket Pocket! are the nail scissors I deploy when I find one
—a synecdoche, a neurosurgeon, a raincoat, an elephant, a magpie.
In the other pocket Bestiary! I keep them, imagining the holes they leave
in the magazines, and the trails the scissors make on their trips to those stunners.
Battery Acid! and Molybdenum! Freed from their sentences,
words no longer whisper along closed pages. They are gifts we share,
reader, shouting from glossy letters into our hands,
into the wild Wordless! language of our heads.