for Willem Jan
“What is description . . . but encoded desire?”
— Mark Doty
It’s morning. I pull you from the crib all warm and yeasty, your hair stuck up like two soft horns, you beaming brighter than a headlight in anticipation of the nip. Silly boy, tender pink niblet, luscious little beast, water nut, love blossom, Panis bulbosa, lactata nippiana. And so begin the verbal fevers of my love-smitten Tourette’s, speaking in tongues wild with metaphor, swinging from branch to branch of simile, rooting about for words to match your roundness, your just succulency, your sheer plump thigh-liness. All morning I groom you with tiny love-names. I am a cat, you are my kitten, cowlicked with locution. I am a sound nymph tickling you with alliteration, a Swedish masseuse rubbing you with vowels. Who would have known my love would rise up so fiercely, hover delirious in small bits of sound, all day the adjectives landing and relanding, determined to match your infinite perfection, my sweet boy, my sweet boy.