There is no way

To say the words

That never form

But burn

Inside my head

In colors and

In melodies inside of songs

And photographs—


Dropping down like bass

To the pit of


Playing trios in my


The blues.


Notes of Billie Holiday

Flying up from my center

Like smoke up a

Chimney’s flue

And turning my mind

Churning my time

Breaking it down and

Making me forget

Where I am in the day

Sunrise or sunset

It doesn’t matter

Because the day

Can’t be through

Until I know

How to say it

To you.


Cymbals softly tapping

The rhythm has begun

Gets trapped

In the middle of my chest

Right between my breasts

So I feel it

Hear it

But I cannot sing the tune

Because it’s stuck—

Stuck like

A bug on the window of

My lungs


And then rat-a-tat

The cymbal grows

In its presence and its



What if I simply said

With dread

Of not being understood

That I am filled with


When I see your face

Hear wind chimes blowing

In the breeze

On a hot summer day

When your cadence comes

To play

In my mind

Not even your words

Just your hows

And your whys

And your



What if I simply drew

A landscape

Bright with green

Like new

The way the world looks

When you

Choose a fork in the road

Turn a corner

Suddenly see

Vibrant artistry

In nature

And gasp

With awe

When awes gets stuck

In your throat

Like a word

Like a note

And all you can think

Is emotion.


There is no way to say

The words

So instead

I’ll venture this:

A bouquet of


The thoughts themselves

The gestures wrought

To tell you

That thing

Like a bird with

Vibrant blue wings

That thing

That makes

Music sing

Moonlight glow

Roses red

Peace and kindness spread . . .


Or maybe

I could


Look at you

And you

would know.


copyright Jill Szoo Wilson

(Photo credit: A brush drawing by Heiko Müller, Untitled.