“From: ‘The Failure of Language'” by Jacqueline Berger.

These last few days I’ve fallen victim to the misplaced words, unnecessary distance nudged between for reasons that completely escape me. I’ve come to realize that no matter how comfortable, how secure I may feel, the terrifying reality of loving someone (truly, wholly, a bone-deep sort of love) sometimes gets the better of me. Without notice or rationality I feel myself turning into myself and causing this bright distance to grow wider.

Everything we love fails, I didn’t tell my students,
if by fails we mean ends or changes,
if by love we mean what sustains us.
Language is what honors the vanishing.
Or is language what slows the leaving?
Or does it only deepen what we know of loss?

My students believe it’s important
to get the words right.
Once said, they can never be retrieved.
It takes years to learn to be awkward.
At their age, each word must be carefully chosen
to communicate the yes, but also leave room
for the not really, just kidding, a gateway car
with the engine running.

Inside us, constellations,
bit thread knotted into night’s black drape.
There are no right words,
if by right we mean perfect,
if by perfect we mean able to save us.

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