William Poulos: Linguists as Lovers

Linguists as Lovers
We go to tragedies because we are ashamed of our compromises, because in tragedy we find the pure beauty of absolutes, a beauty you cannot have if you choose to live. You can’t make a tragedy out of survival.
—Daniel Mendelsohn, The Elusive Embrace

So says the academic, beautiful,
Promiscuous, who takes on other lovers
The way he does with languages: they wait
As scribbles till he comes and makes them sing.

So loves his student. She, a polyglot,
Glances at men as dictionaries; others,
More interesting, she studies for a month,
Or maybe—if they’re lucky—holds in bed.

So was her lover, who has now been shelved.
Unable to put on a pretty font,
He rubs his shoulders with the other books,
Already read and marked, collecting dust.

William Poulos

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