Pretty Words

By Brooke Cummings

Photo by Franky Mariachi

Photo by Franky Mariachi

Pretty words will always be my downfall. And maybe I’ve never understood the meaning of love but a lovely bunch of words in a row can pluck at my heart strings like the fingers of a skilled musician until they’re singing notes that shatter glass and ribs. From a stranger, from a lover, it never matters. Maybe I’ve never loved anything more than I’ve loved the words spoken to me or even words spoken to someone else or no one at all. Maybe words are all you can love. That is, if you group things together by categories: concrete and ideas. Love is not to be grasped by my cracked fingers with peeling nails and neither are words, even on paper they are not the same. They are only ever proper when spoken aloud so they can be gone in a flash and only known as a memory. But they can not be held like a rock or a pen. I know that love is caring but all I’ve ever cared for is the syllables that spill off tongues like milk from a glass, smooth and fluid. Maybe I did not love my ex-boyfriend as I thought, but I did love the stutter that he felt crippled him. I was in love with the way some of his letters were repeated, repeated, repeated, until the rest of the word rolled out quickly to catch up. I never will stop loving the way words sound from different people from different places. I’m in love with a northern accent that I don’t hear enough of. Maybe I don’t yet understand love but if this thing beating in your chest ever quits or beautiful words stop being pointed in my direction, I feel as if all my words would die right there on the tip of my tongue.