J A N U A R Y 1 9 9 2
VIRGULEby Thomas Lux
Hear Thomas Lux read this poem (in RealAudio).
(For help, see a note about the audio.)
Also by Thomas Lux:
Henry Clay's Mouth (1999)
The Man Into Whose Yard You Should Not Hit Your Ball (1998)
Torn Shades (1996)
He Has Lived in Many Houses (1996)
Gorgeous Surfaces (1994)
Snake Lake (1984)
What I love about this little leaning mark
is how it divides
without divisiveness. The left
or bottom side prying that choice up or out,
the right or top side pressing down upon
its choice: either/or,
(a little dizzy, but the Dickinson association
too much like a Roman legionnaire
of many campaigns),
or a separatrix (reminding one of a sexual
variant). No, I like virgule. I like the word
may be chosen to complete the sense."
There is something democratic
about that, grown-up; a long
and slender walking stick set against the house.
Virgule: it feels good in your mouth.
Virgule: you could name your son that,
or your daughter Virgula. I'm sorry now
I didn't think to give my daughter such a name
though I doubt that she and/or
her mother would share that thought.
Copyright © 1992 by Thomas Lux. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Originally published in The Atlantic Monthly, January 1992.