before you forget that words are used for something other than.

I had already fallen in love with
far too many postage stamps,
when you appeared on my doorstep,
wearing nothing but a postcard promise.

No. Appear is the wrong word.
Is there a word for sucker-punching
someone in the heart?

Is there a word for when you are sitting
at the bottom of a roller coaster,
and you realize the climb is coming,
that you know what the climb means,
that you can already feel the flip in your
stomach from the fall, before you have
even moved—is there a word for that?
There should be.

You can only fit so many words in a postcard.
Only so many in a phone call.
Only so many into space, before you forget
that words are sometimes used for things
other than filling emptiness.

It is hard to build a body out of words.
I have tried. We have both tried.
Instead of laying your head on my chest,
I tell you about the boy who lives downstairs,
who stays up all night playing his drum set.
The neighbors have complained:
they have busy days tomorrow.
But he keeps on thumping through the night,
convinced, I think, that practice makes perfect.

Instead of holding my hand, you tell me about
the sandwich you made for lunch, the way the
pickles fit so perfectly against the lettuce.
Practice does not make perfect.
Practice makes permanent.
Repeat the same mistakes over and over,
and you don’t get any closer to Carnegie Hall.
Even I know that.

Repeat the same mistakes over and over,
and you don’t get any closer.
You—
never get any closer.

Is there a word for the moment you win
tug-of-war? When the weight gives,
and all that extra rope comes hurtling
towards you, how even though you’ve won,
you still end up with muddy knees and
burns on your hands?
Is there a word for that?
I wish there was.

I would have said it, when we were finally
alone together on your couch, neither one of us with anything left to say.

Still now, I send letters into space,
hoping that some mailman somewhere
will track you down and recognize you
from the descriptions in my poems;
he will place the stack of them in your hands
and tell you, There is a girl who still writes you. She doesn’t know how not to.

“Postcards”
No Matter the Wreckage
Sarah Kay

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