A body out of words – Poem 19 from the book “Wondrous Journey: Poems of Love and Less”
In A Body out of Words, the speaker assumes the ability to build another human being from scratch. Three times the speaker tries to build the perfect human lover using words, as if every breath uttered was capable of giving life. The first lover we meet is built too dreamy, too lovely, too perfect to be accepted. The second lover we hear of, who is actually the first lover that is built, is built perfect in a practical sense but incapable of inducing ecstasy or arousal. As a result, the speaker gets back to crafting another “body,” this time borrowing elements from the previously made bodies, scraping away the qualities deemed unnecessary. The speaker finally reaches satisfaction, in the end, not by instructing the body what it should be, but rather by declaring what it cannot be nor ever become in uttering the phrases: “Do not build me a grave out of this rib cage, do not be the coffin.” The word “this” (this rib cage) in the last two phrases is used intentionally, referring to a common and shared body as the two become one.