Tell me this poem doesn’t exist on paper and needs
the red movement of a mouth.
Tell me you are in the poem.
Your lips wrap every word,
brown packaging, mailed first-class,
for the trip across the country between us.
Tell me we’ll never say this poem.
Tell me we can ride through
today in a winter of quiet.
The only papers in my wallet are lists —
groceries and wishes. Tell me these things
fill the blank flat space in its folds.
Don’t speak of emptiness or silence.
Emptiness hitched across the country,
silence filled the country.
by Gregory Stapp