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The Language of Love

Rodney Jones

It has taken thirty-five years to be this confident
of what happens between the noun and the verb.

Eventually, love goes. The image. Then the thought.
No? Then you are still alive. Only a little. And then,

I do not mean to depress you. Men have to hear
before they see. Sacred vows. Dropped shirts.

Women do not speak to men. They are overheard.
Sadness mounts people. Around the burn-scar high

on one thigh, the body of the beloved will vanish.
And the come cries and salt hair-smells of lovemaking.

Secret fiction, holy matrimony, longest short story
the troth two lovers pledge to one another is none

of the president’s business, let him say what he wants.
He is no good with words. Ask any true lesbian.

He should take a poetry workshop with Adrienne Rich.
He should try using the world less and words more

"The Language of Love", from Salvation Blues: One Hundred Poems, 1985-2005 by Rodney Jones. Copyright © 2006 by Rodney Jones. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

"The Language of Love", from Salvation Blues: One Hundred Poems, 1985-2005 by Rodney Jones. Copyright © 2006 by Rodney Jones. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

Rodney Jones