Why I got you an hourglass for your birthday

I recently discovered that words are just a translation

Of the heart and not a transcript.

That means 26 perfectly capable letters in an alphabet,

And not a single one of them has a womb strong enough

To carry the emotions of a fist-sized muscle.

This epiphany came to me too late,

Because in the three eight-lettered words, I’d always

Assumed you could hear not only what I said, but what I felt.

What I thought.

And now all the best presents have been given,

The best songs sung, poems recited, books written, paintings painted.

Words disintegrated atom for atom, nucleus stripped-

And the Hiroshima mushroom cloud that remains

Leaves a void in a dictionary,

but an overflowing mind and heart

That demand expression.

How can I possibly find a way to say ‘I love you’?

Love is so irrational it once demanded the life of God

And the universe looked on to the Word crucified.

God placed Himself on mute, tuned out of sound’s frequency

So His heart could speak in the beats of stressed and unstressed syllables.

An iambic pentameter flowing out of His side.

Word and Action superimposed on the most loved plus-sign in the world.

Bridging the chasm between mouth and chest.

And because I know that heat applied turns sand to glass,

I went to the shore,

and spoke your name onto every grain of sand,

scooped into this glass ribcage.

A grain for all the seconds in an every hour since your birth.

A grain for the letters on my fingers,

A grain for the sentences in my palms

A grain for all the prayers that come from your knees

A grain for number of atoms in the words ‘I love you’

And for the days when I lose my voice,

I want you turn time on its head and watch your name slip through

as it does in my veins.

Because an hourglass is the only moment when

moving time in any direction looks exactly the same-

and when 60minutes yield to the horizon-

perhaps I will know how to say ‘I love you’ again.

And we can spend moments, counting grains of sand

Learning how to understand the translations of a fist-sized muscle.

Learning to love as if we were both deaf and blind.

And when we know,

We will leave the world an empty hourglass

Like liquid sand.

 
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Siphokazi Jonas

Occupation: Under Construction I am a spoken word artist, subject to God the Word. I write about the world above me, the world around me and the world within me. I am learning that my poems must always be bigger than me if ever they are to mean anything.

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