“To Speak Love’s Name” by Alex Williamson


is to conjure it, the way
children summon Bloody Mary
by chanting into a mirror.

I used to turn on the lights
before she could answer.

That was before I knew
love that needs no invitation,
only a body to consume.

I’m told it’s nothing personal, like cancer
or a pregnancy. Nature’s typo,
rogue cells with plans of their own.

Child of hunger or plain bad luck, lodged
beneath the ribs. Swallowing weeks,
greedy for whole seasons.

Tell me, have you ever folded
to the cold tile, dial tone still singing
in your hand, and begged for an excision?

Too late for that. Indelible black mass,
with me and spreading already.
Fed by the same body

I once folded around yours.
Dividing even as I crumple
and prepare to let you go.


Alex Williamson is an editor and writer  living in Brooklyn. When she’s not moving commas around, she’s cooking, practicing yoga, or thinking about moving commas around. Her short story “Real Life” is forthcoming in Five 2 One Magazine.

Featured image by Chris Barbalis

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