The Mysteries Are Written Down

by David W. Landrum

Before we could say love, or could say lies,
they were etched on the potshard of our skulls,
and you and I were the scriptorium.

In cuneiform, the character for man
forms in a simple wedge; and for a woman,
the same, but a with a line drawn from the base:
woman /pudendum, the translations say;
woman/cunt, a tallying of worth.
Yet still the lines are drawn for both of us.

We’ve found no stone half-buried in the sand
with three levels of language as the key,
to open the demotic to koiné.

Some words there are, Samuel Johnson said,
which I cannot explain, because I do
not understand them.
Language, the body’s rune,
is scrawled with ocher in our caves of brain
and written on our gut-wall cavities—
inscriptions that stand mute except to say,
This is a mystery you cannot know.


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