The Words I
Have Swallowed

That I knew even as we gave them names.
That our children were sad fictions.

That I knew no map would ever exist
where we would share a house, bed sheets.

That we could breathe in the other's breath
and remain more than separate.

Tell me, do you wish these words were bits of bread
or more permanent, like pebbles?

I've no choice. Inside me they burn and cool—
whole cities of glass rise and collapse

piece by piece, within me.

Michele Santamaria

If you have any comments on this poem, Michele Santamaria would be pleased to hear from you.