We Fail Language
Caitlin Thomson
A word on my tongue for every occasion. Inaccurate

but true. My morning coffee, luminous.


My daughter is struggling to understand the word –
marriage. She keeps asking me to marry her.

I upset her with the word no.

My husband tells her marriage is an agreement
between two people to love one another
and stay together forever. Devastation.


When we console her shaking body back to speech she asks

When will mama leave me?


Never, I say,
                     You will leave me, unspoken.



Marry me? she asks again. My husband takes

another stab – it means to share everything you have
with someone else, everything you own also belongs to them.



She shouts, No thank you.  Everything I have
is already hers, spiderweb. 
Caitlin Thomson is the co-founder of The Poetry Marathon, an international writing event. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals including: The Adroit Journal, The Penn Review, Barrow Street, and Radar. You can learn more about her writing at www.caitlinthomson.com.