A passion for language
set their hearts aflutter,
not only for the bingos like ECSTASY
that earned an extra fifty points
but for smaller words like QI
the Chinese force inherent in all things
and KA the Egyptian word for soul.
She admired the way
he finessed the tightest spaces,
and he the challenges she issued
to every bogus entry.
Since her knee replacement
and his accident at work,
they had played online each night,
their crutches poised against the wall,
their words sailing across the Net
like messages in bottles.
Now their language grew more fervent.
He made the bingo, DEAREST
she used his S in her word, HEARTS .
they felt their lives were joined.
When finally they met
at Starbucks for a game,
he leaned across the table
and kissed her on the lips,
their glasses grew entangled,
and his large groping hands
sent the bag of tiles flying.
A solitary X, a lonely Z
landed at his feet.
He picked them up,
she handed him an A.
ZAX, they sighed.
That would be the name
of their first child.
It’s a tool for cutting slate.
(Originally published in The Blue Hour)