Lines on Love’s (Loss*)

what we do not dream we cannot manufacture

Art follows ear and echo



eyesight searches the dust

and is surprised by love’s

apophatic blinking


what love sees in daily light

holds open color—ink, roar, melody and quiet

is its own steady gaze

to better endure bumps


“always more song to be sung” between the words

jars memory and its subatomic underscore

moving at the speed of thought underscore


in random thirsts rise underscore

name the sensations, underscore

to fish for breath, underscore

combing through hair as tangled as nets, as underscore


thick as the beat of blossoms’ underscore


a fine line between mind and senses spinning underscore

in which her/my/their body becomes expert underscore

without waiting for unified theory,


loving the body of one’s choice andunderscore


to live so surrounded underscore

with fewer asterisks and underscore

more verbs andunderscore

fewer security alerts Underscore

there eloquence before underscore

and above

underscore the grave.

*For Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor

Copyright © 2020 by Erica Hunt. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 1, 2020 by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“‘Lines on Love's (Loss*)’ assembles many aphoristic phrases and fragments gathered over the years into one poem. The poem reads love of many varieties—agape, romantic, communal, and spiritual—as difficult and transformative. The poem was a poem before the blanks were added, but the blanks are important to the sense I wanted to convey that art, like love, stimulates our imaginations through open forms. I use the word ‘apophatic’ to signal how poetic art marks deep ‘truths’ as powerfully as direct citation through sound (music) and form.”
Erica Hunt