If you write “at” and I read “on,” we will miss the train,
dinner will burn in the oven, the Madagascar Palm Tree
will flower before we reach the Indian Ocean,
and we will have to leave a note to our descendants
asking them to carry our ashes to the white cliffs of Dover,
fanning them into the winds like a momentary delta
of salts and lost thoughts.

If you say “gone” and I hear “song,” the movie’s story
will be untranslatable, and the road beneath our feet
will bury us under gravel kicked up by misfirings,
by faulty definitions, and trails overgrown with malaprops
for “vine” and “fern” and “rotting branch,”
rendering our jungle guide mute
as he leads us by memory lapses, on to a crag
of crumbling chalk and black flint.

Eventually the journal of our common song
will be forgotten so long its words become a puzzle
with no solution. We will have only its paper
encasing a meaning of wood measured in a shade
of dead aspen leaves, like the first note of a sonata
locked in a creaky gate, a score that will only open
for the key stored inside a child’s ear, and sealed away
by the first question he asked that was answered
with a question, as hard as granite, and which
he will spend his life chipping away and shaping.

WORDS MADE OF STONE by Michael T. Young

Photo used under CC.