They Say It’s Better to Have Loved and Lost Than to Never Have Loved at All

Noah Arhm Choi


Dear voice box shaped like a violin’s neck now thickening with T,
I can’t say I’ve ever loved you unless love
means missing the teeth I gave to the tooth fairy
for how naturally they left my mouth, unless love
is a polaroid and not a reel you can rewind
or repeat. I dreamed I was flat like a new sheet of paper.
I dreamed my voice was a bear, or a basement, or even
my father saying hello. If you say goodbye
to something you never loved, is it still called loss. If
you say goodbye to something you’ve never been is it still
called transition? A cow is kept in a cage the size of its body and called
veal. A cage is caught inside an animal and called a body. It is better
to be safe than sorry, safe like triple washed e coli spinach
safe like ovaries in Texas or Arkansas or Kansas
safe like giving a knife to your sadness. If you give
a mouse a cookie it will ask for a syringe, a binder that bathes
your body in bright bliss but only if you bear
the bite of it all day. If you give a mouse a bite it will ask
you to say its name right, and loudly. If you give a mouse a right
you better teach it how to miss it when its taken
back away. If you give a mouse a way to be a mouse and not a foot
or a sound or a slice of mud, don’t ask it to be ok with a voice that squeaks
and bells like a completely different season. Don’t ask if it likes its cookie
just let it sit on the greener side, having lost what it did not love, not safe
but definitely not sorry.