On Words and Their Places

The World Seems… by Gregory Orr

The world seems so palpable
And dense: people and things
And the landscapes
They inhabit or move through.

Words, on the other hand,
Are so abstract—they’re
Made of empty air
Or black scratches on a page
That urge us to utter
Certain sounds.

And us:
Poised in the middle, aware
Of the objects out there
Waiting patiently to be named,
As if the right words
Could save them.

And don’t
They deserve it?
So much hidden inside each one,
Such a longing
To become the beloved.

And inside us: the sounds
That could extend that blessing—
How they crowd our mouths,
How they press up against
Our lips, which are such
A narrow exit for a joy so desperate.

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