You are the eyelash in my cream
of cauliflower soup, celadon worm
on a bed of steamed broccoli. Ugly,
ugly as a tick on a dog’s belly.
Abrupt as coitus interruptus, maybe
even imperialist – exerting freedom
through force. You plant your flag
in the sentence’s breeze as though
we don’t know what country we’re in
or who does what to whom.
You infatuate academics, put on
airs, tuxedos, hang your top hat
on the rack of imprecise thought.
You’re supposed to signal a relationship
best left unexplained, hinting
“more will come, things
will get clearer.” But really,
you’re nothing but a rusty hinge.
Though you do have an illustrious history.
Shakespeare peppered you
over his sonnets. Yet Samuel Beckett,
without any Jackson Pollock splatter
“There I am then, (comma)
he leaves me, (comma)
he’s in a hurry. (period)”
The one who tells panda jokes
loves you because you provide lift –
as though we must hover on semantic
thermals, inhabit the troposphere.
Granted, a master such as Virginia Woolf
can hold aloft her long sentences
with five of you and at least twelve commas.
The only solution may be to strike you
from our repertoire. Backspace,
delete, delete, let you go
from endangered to extinct –
the way of the ivory-billed woodpecker,
the eel grass limpet.
But easier said than done.
Why just last night, in a letter listing
skills I hoped would snare a job,
I used three of you.
There was no other way around it.
Which proves hostility can be set aside
and maybe, just maybe, there is hope
for a species such as ours.
So let’s not wait
for deathbed regrets
to turn an awkward pause
into a full stop.