ACE BOGGESS is an author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016). His fourth poetry collection, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.
Advice for Saying Hello
I’m the wrong person to ask—
heart in it, but not my voice.
If we haven’t met,
you’re the speck of a gnarled spider
dangling from a ceiling in the hall.
Legs atremble, I won’t approach,
might stare rudely or run away.
I’m paralyzed from the tongue up.
Should you encounter me,
please speak fast
before panic hides me in its cloak.
Tell me your name, your favorite film,
what songs play
on the soundtrack to your life.
Tell me how much you love
spaghetti & red wine,
the smell of frying eggs,
the color of anything
under a rain-gray sky.
I promise to listen, &
maybe then, I’ll have an answer
for the silence I wear
like a holiday sweater:
ugly, red, & pulled from a drawer
out of gratitude or duty
on yet another lonely, public eve.