Everything we love fails, I didn’t tell my students,
if by fails we mean ends or changes,
if by love we mean what sustains us.
Language is what honors the vanishing.
Or is language what slows the leaving?
Or does it only deepen what we know of loss?
Inside us, constellations,
bit thread knotted into night’s black drape.
There are no right words,
if by right we mean perfect,
if by perfect we mean able to save us.
It is my friend herself who is fragile.
When I take her out to eat, each step is work.
The restaurant is loud and bright.
She wants to know if she looks normal.
I make my words soft. Fine,
which might be the most useless word in English,
everything is going to be fine.
-Excerpts from “The Failure of Language” by Jacqueline Berger