What I Say I Mean • Philip Vassalo

I don’t know the right verbs
(if that’s what they be called)
to say this right,

but my blood—
the very veins themselves—
trickle, like

bricks one on top
another cemented together
but small enough

to fit inside me
blocking, stuffing
there’s not an inch left

for me
no insides. Just blood.
I could burst

but have no words
to do it with,
the ones you’ll know

to say what it’s like
this me getting down
next to you.

And you don’t say a single
word to get my blood back,
pumping again,

bricks cracking
cement pulverizing,
hardness crumbling to dust.

Oooooo baby
what you do to me
the wordless way you have.


Philip Vassallo is the author of Like the Day
I Was Born and American Haiku.