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Louise Robertson

July 27, 2014

A Good Comma

I used to love me a good comma.
Each one had the weight of
every broad-shouldered cuss
I ever liked.

They’d say, mmm, pause, yeah.

There was this one author who used
commas all the time. I read
his books just to get a load
of the silences as he considered
the next phrase: the same consideration
he might have for his knuckles

as he used them to press
himself forward, pushing
the rest of his sentence into you.

It was the hand on the shoulder.
Correction: it was the hand on the back.
Correction: it was the hand far up on the inside of leg,
so far up it brushed past a small, past a plump, past an edge,
a rim, a skirted perimeter.

I used to love
me a good comma. In the middle of the night,
can’t sleep, I’d push up against that one big book,
my face between its
pages, pulling its words to full height.

Then the commas
would put their mouth on that bump
on the back of my neck making
me wish to be pulled in by their
lips like some kind of sweet,
tear-able, boney meat.

I haven’t felt that for a long time.
I’ve been thinking instead that the words can carry
themselves. Take this orange. Weigh it in your hand.
See? Heavy as an orange. Take this pencil. Light.
Snap. Point.

But language owns a heft that has
more to do with extending the spaces
between words, so they can breathe,
so they can walk down the stairs,
piece by piece,
and say,
and you come,
and wait,
and come again.






Louise Robertson (BA Oberlin College, MFA George Mason University) has been published in small journals (Pudding Magazine, New Verse News, Parting Gifts). She lives, works and raises her kids in Columbus, OH where she is active in the poetry scene including participating as a competing poet at regional and national poetry slam events and winning the Columbus Arts Festival poetry competition twice (2007, 2009). She runs a monthly poetry show and is the marketing director for a long running poetry night (Writers’ Block Poetry).



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