Dead Language by Abigail Frankfurt

in a dream you came back and made the same mistakes you already made. 3 broken ribs and hospital bound. i played the cd that was in the back of a book i bought on the east side. we listened to it over and over and over. we prepared. what song would accompany those who mourn you. i looked up a word – new to me – beautiful in its meaning terpsichorean – but i have not had the chance to use it. 3 times i was told – use a new word three times – it will harness itself to your tongue and it is yours forever. i joined a group of linguists lead by a righteous academic who told me there were no words for “you belong.” he told me i was not welcome, if i stayed it would get unpleasant. i am used to unpleasant – my tongue twisted and tangled and rolled out of mouth like a rotted tooth. i knew you knew – in a dream or in truth – i was telling the story of our time – your fingers dipped in ink, my face covered in sweat – sitting in a used ford taurus- nineteen ninety-six – each word had a purpose – the feeling of your filthy fingers wrapped around my slippery tongue – pulling and pulling, helping me puke up what it was i meant to say – it’s so good to dream of you shoving me up against a tree – lost – the 2 of us – lost in the woods – my body opens up, my ribs scrape yours and we are sewn together – bones weaving upwards like lattice crawling over brick

Abigail Frankfurt graduated from The New School’s MFA Poetry Program in 2016. She studied literature at Columbia U. and received Honors in both Writing and Literature. Currently, she has been teaching early childhood education. She has freelanced for The New York Times, The Minneapolis Observer, and the online magazine, Mr. Beller’s neighborhood.

Photo by Gareth David