Phrases fell and crumbled between us,
gathering like loam around our roughened feet,
and I stumbled over a word that had not
fully fallen into its varied vowels
and component consonants.

I lifted it as a child would a stone,
tested its moss-softened weight
and trailed the insects that skittered
from beneath it with my gaze.
When I threw it,
heaving my whole body into its flight,
it whispered into your ear and returned
from your mouth to me.
Sounds once as foreign and antique as Rome
were transformed by your voice,
the rise and rest of breath
reviving dead language.

We had found a new way to converse,
new ways for tongues and teeth to interact.
We had found, among discarded arguments,
a dissolving way to relate.

I pocketed the word, tucking it into my jeans
where it could press against the
curve of my thigh, and brought it home.
Later, with your palm rested on mine
and its weight between, we swore by it.