Lipsill (Swedish for crybaby)

by Ila Colley

Your doughy fists navigate through space,
Orchestrated, the world seems to fold through the lines you dictate.
Darling, tell me why and how!
I’m teasing you, more than you understand, so
Stand up for yourself. Soon you’ll conduct
Language, I’ll breathe it into you,
Your tongue will snake past the ambiguous mumblings of a, b, c,
The loopholes of form and waves,
Littered behind you as you stride
Past the shallows of word-pinkie-word,
Deeper, into the currents of holy fluency.

One day you,
You’ll believe that the waves are your own,
That you can hold molten marble in your fists;
You, the great Creator
Could never lose his bearings
But your lips are cold as ice
And you won’t taste the salt crystals forming
Between your teeth until it’s too late.
But how! Your only virtue shackling you to the ocean bed,
Eons spent with water in your lungs, but you still
Can’t remember what you meant.

Lipsill, don’t spill
Backwards. Don’t be silly now,
Don’t look for lines in glazed eyes
I can’t bear to see you stumble
Over all the différance in the world,
I heard
You’re beginning to see fingernails between each word
I heard you washed up on the shore last night,
A colony of acorn barnacles in your skin, like
Each reiteration you ever committed
Sucking for repentance.
I heard you kept each one
That you don them like kisses.
I’d like to wipe them away
And hope that tomorrow
You’ll say
Something as clear as every tear
And as curling as the taste of brine
That hits your lips, so forget it now,
Only in Danish is it too late for you to swim.

Please, you’re still translating yourself to me,
Don’t worry that the intent was never yours,
Don’t falter because you’re foolish
We’ve been fooled by language before.