Words That Can Never Be Spoken (or, Why I Don’t Fall in Love)

by Arielle DeVito


For a long while, I’d forgotten how to make my hands breathe poetry how my lips breathe
gusts of icy air.
But then she happened, and now I want to dip my pen into her eyes
(the color of murmuring moss the color of glistening sea-glass the color of seaweed slip-sliding through her loose-held fingers fingers)
and try to let the words lick up my arms
(pale from late nights inside pale from forgetting about the sun pale from trying to avoid herlight so my wings won’t melt but my skin still crackles and burns in the fire)
like flames escaping from her parted lips
(like sugar-sweet candyfloss like velvet rose petals in the night like the sunset streaked acrossthe star-filled sky).
She is not meant for you, the willows say,
(voices harsh and whispery voices harsh like knives voices harsh from disuse because silenceis easier than saying everything I’d like to keep inside)
kicking up chalk-dust clouds on the empty sidewalk,
(feet sore and tired feet twisting beneath me feet scrabbling for purchase on the ground tiltingwildly and yawning open into darkness)
you break everything you touch
(shattering glass beneath my fingertips shattering moments with too-loud laughter shatteringfeelings with a careless word and why do I always say the wrong thing).
And this is far too precious to let go of
(more than the emeralds in my eyes more than the rubies resting on my tongue more than thesharp-edged diamonds that shred my feet to bloody ribbons every time I stumble in the dance)
her fingers grasping at empty threads
(ice threading through my soul ice sparkling on frozen eyelashes ice crystallizing in thespaces between my words when I take a breath to search for the next heartbreak)
strands of meaning in meaningless phrases
(whispered promises whispered lies whispered words that spill from empty mouths laden withworries).
I shout until my voice is hoarse, tearing silkworms from my skull without ever finding the
answers that I search for  the answers to a thousand and one questions like what am I doing
and what should I do now and how do I ever tell you all of this  the ravens are raucous in
humming birds from humming love songs that don’t hold a candle to the poetry of your voice
the candle that’s burnt down to a stub and wax drips onto silent tongues hissing in pain and
hissing out muffled cries of sorrow and horror –
The current pulls me out to sea
(pulling me underwater pulling me limb-from-limb pulling me into someone I don’t want tobe but don’t know how to stop from becoming)
but at least I can leave, before I go,
(take me with you take me away from everything take me under your wing to shelter me fromthe rain that hisses and steams when it hits my flesh)a thimble to warm your still-beating heart
(to save you from the arrow to save you from Juliet’s dagger to save you from the way you’ll
work yourself to the bone before you admit you’re afraid of being alone in it all).

Author Bio: Arielle DeVito is a junior at Hathaway Brown School and plans to study creative writing and linguistics in college. She figure skates, plays the flute, and spends far too much time reading. Her work has been published in The Writer’s Slate and the second edition of Dancing With the Pen!