Calligraphed

by Kyle Vaughn


“My lips and fingers were pens on her flesh:
I memorized her in every alphabet.”—Adonis


I want to write binding over your heart, to the left 
of your breastbone, centerdelight—in
cursive, illustrated with semicircles,
blue moons and waves.  I want to drink

water from your hands, desire’s river pressing
through my stone.  Snow learned the channels of
my face, left me with icelit eyes that should have
seen more world.  But I found the way in the valleys 

along your back.  Let’s say the map shows rapids
or boulders or the collision of tectonic plates. Where
do we go in an upended world?  The answer is—
I’m gentle and have a navy made of words.  I have

the language of another sunrise.  So tell me
the Portuguese for light.  Let me see the spark of a 
mandarin in your mouth.  Paint my face as it should 
look and spell our names with your fingertips on my palms.








Kyle Vaughn’s poems have appeared in journals and anthologies such as Adbusters, The Boiler, Drunken Boat, Poetry East, Vinyl, and Introduction to the Prose Poem (Firewheel Editions).  His photography in Annalemma and Holon. His non-fiction book A New Light in Kalighat, featuring photos and stories about children in the Kalighat red light district in Kolkata, India, was published in 2013. His classroom curriculum book Lightning Paths: 75 Poetry Writing Exercises was released in 2018 (NCTE Books). [] www.kylevaughn.org [] twitter: @krv75 [] insta:  @kylev75

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