wordless and without sound

Twenty six.

They are shuffled into something exquisite, sometimes.

One by one they are laced together,

To form a halting exhalation,

And for that breath—

The one at the  apex of you

Different from the expiration

At the nadir–

For that breath that is sweet

And painful

It is created,




There are only twenty-six letters

In the only alphabet I know.

I found an article that you wouldn’t like. It listed the “32 most beautiful words in the English language.” You would roll your eyes here.

You would want sources. Data. Quantitative research. But I would begin to read and you would listen:

Aquiver. Quivering, trembling.

My hand touches lightly the place you slept. 

Body aquiver, I lay without you.

Mellifluous. A sound that is sweet

And smooth

And pleasing to hear.

In my waking hours

And in sleep 

I think I hear the mellifluous cadence of your voice

And I stop breathing, stop by heart beating

To hold its sound. 

Ineffable. Too great to be


In words.

I could not breathe laying there, the pain (what a small and useless and ugly word) ineffable and extraordinary. 

Hiraeth. A homesickness for

A home you cannot

Return to, or

That never was (you would point out a flaw in this article, as this is not a word in American English. I would read over you and you would smirk into silence.)

I have known as we all know how small our candles are lit, how temporary, how borrowed our time. I am desperate to be where you are, to see your flame relit or mine out, the hiraeth that overtakes me enough to extinguish both of us. 

Nefarious. Wicked.



Death, that omnipresent elusive thing? is nefarious and I want to hate someone or something for it. I am not certain there is someone or something to hate. You know. I cannot. 

Somnambulist. A person

Who sleepwalks.

I do not sleep. 

Epoch. A particular period

Of time

In history, or

A person’s life.

Were I to continue to exist, you would occupy the darkest and the lightest epoch of my life. You are my epoch, also. 

Sonorous. An impossibly deep and full sound.

My chest broke open, a hundred million tons of the accumulated weight–the loss of you. From the cavern arose an inhuman wail, sonorous and endless, the sound of void and nothing. It would have reached you, had Death not already. 

Serendipity. The chance occurrence of events in a beneficial way.

I was early and you were late. I never went to that shop. Never. It was out of my way. 

But I wanted to try something new. 

I changed my mind about the coffee. 

You left your own on your kitchen table. 

You held open the door 

And I stared at my watch

And I bumped into you

And the coffee spilled

Sloshed over the rim of the cup

And trickled into your shoes

But neither of us saw

My eyes met yours, and caught in 

The complexity of serendipity

We were lost. 

Limerence. The state of being infatuated with another person.

I did not know I was in limerence until I was there entire. You propped your feet onto my

Lap and I thought this would be forever and

I was gone and we were

Bombinate. A humming or buzzing noise.

The resounding oppressive bombinate sound that sits in the place you used to occupy drives me mad. I scream into its soundlessness and its persistent buzzing—the haziness of the place you were—continues without ceasing. 

Ethereal. Extremely delicate light, not of this world.

Ethereal is not beauty and you as an ethereal being that I cannot touch does not comfort me. Be not ethereal so that I can only imagine you, diaphanous and beautiful. Be you, tangible and mine.

Illicit. Not legally permitted.

We made love in illicit places, and I moaned into the crevice of your neck. You silenced me with your lips, afraid that Father would hear. You said that you would go to hell, catholic boy that you were, and I said, we aren’t technically in the church and besides, I would go there also.

Petrichor. The pleasant, earthy smell after rain.

A petrichor scent wafted from the space around your empty coffin and it made me sick. Though you were ash already I could not imagine that there was a world that you would not see, that earth released onto us rain that you could not feel. 

Iridescent. Producing a display of rainbow-like colors.

The iridescent sky that followed your wake was a sign, your mother said. She gripped my arm and gazed hopefully into me, and I wanted to believe as she believed that you commanded the gods to release the rainbow, that it was you smiling at me. I tugged my arm from her and I left her to be alone with her grief. 

Epiphany. A moment of sudden revelation.

Your journal fell from its place on the table beside the fire. The cats and the dog were surrounding me, protecting me from all that was not you, and it fell. My epiphany fell with it. I crawled to it, sobbing so hard my chest broke open, and I found your journal open to a note you’d written to me months ago—don’t forget to water the daisies or they’ll die before I return, and don’t forget to wash your hair because you told me to remind you, and don’t forget that I love you. And I love you. And I love you. And you were there, holding me together, in my epiphany. 

Supine. Lying facing upwards.

In the knowing, the place marked without (you), the gulf that came after life (with you), I lay supine, praying to god or gaia or anansi or hell to crush me and take me to where you are, or nowhere, if you were there also. 

Luminescence. Light produced by chemical, electrical, or physiological means.

A dazzling luminescence overtakes me and I let it. It comes at night, when my head hurts and is so heavy that I will myself to cease in every manner but the one that counts. In the corner of my eye I perceive a shadow, soft and wide, and I imagine that the luminescence that overtakes me is captured by the shadow, and I wonder.

Solitude. A state of seclusion or isolation.

It isn’t intentional.

After you are cold the solitude is endless, the parts of memories that we shared held only by me. Even though they come—you were loved, and they come—I miss you with words that do not exist. The solitude left by you is all that you left and it makes me bitter and guilty. 

Aurora. Dawn.

The soft pink of a new released shell is swathed in clear cerulean. Burnt orange meets a lazy, buttery yellow and I know that this is an aurora that you would have breathed in and made songs about. But first you would have stood behind me, your hand in the small of my back, feeling aurora through me and with me. 

Syzygy. An alignment of celestial bodies.

Today a syzygy formed, a pact between mercury and mars that mercury would move and shield mars—only for a moment—from the sun. For a moment they were aligned. Somewhere in the place where you are kept, the place that you escape while I am sleeping, a syzygy forms, binding you to me through space and time, and you protect me and beckon to me and, when it is time, I will come to you. 

Phosphenes. The light and colors produced by rubbing your eyes.

You are there in the phosphenes in the beginning of my waking. I can rub my eyes and discern you before you fade into the darkness. 

You would frown here and tell me that the words were beautiful, and I would lament their obviousness, how very little those letters yield. I hear your voice and I cling to your words, the false words that I have given to you. You will give no more.

In the only alphabet I know

there are only twenty-six letters.




It is created

and painful

For the breath that is sweet.

At the nadir—

Different from the expiration,

The one at the apex of you

And for the breath

To form a halting exhalation,

One by one they are laced together,

They are shuffled into something exquisite, sometimes.



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