cab, n.: You act as if the driver’s invited you into his living room, and start talking right away. I prefer to stare out the window.
cabaret, n.: It’s you in the kitchen, singing without the radio on. I hover in the next room, not wanting my delight to interfere.
cable. n.: Those nights we couch-drone, I feel we are indeed bound by cable, dangling in the fake reality of others, not pondering our own.
cache, n.: Are we attracted to dating beautiful people because we admire them, or because we think others will admire us for having them?
cacophony, n.: Insomnia comes when my thoughts are full of too much noise, with no logic to sort them into silence.
cadre, n.: It’s always a matter of strategy – win the friends over one by one, or take them on as a group and hope you’ll break through.
café, n: Our neutral ground, where we can stop being ourselves and just be coffee drinkers.
cagey, adj.: Your evasiveness puts us both behind bars.
cajole, v.: I know my moods are hard to read; I’m not fluent myself. Ask me to risk something, and it’s anyone’s guess what I’ll say.
cakewalk, n.: The icing almost defeated you. It looked like PUPPY BIRTHING TO YOU – but the joke became as much a gift as the baking.
calamine, n.: I want you to be the thing that covers up my mistakes and makes them stop itching. Which is a lot to expect from a lover.
calculated, adj.: Sometimes I can’t trust your apologies, because they seem to have an undercurrent of cold mathematics beneath the words.
calendar, n.: I need you more in January than I do in June.
calibration, n.: The trick of a relationship isn’t fitting your lives together so much as fitting your lives, together, into time.
call, n.: When I’m away, I still want you to be the last voice of the night.
callous, adj.: see callus
callow, adj.: You hold onto a fanciful notion that socks have lives of their own, which is why you leave them wherever you take them off.
callus, n.: I want to develop that second dull skin, so used to your carelessness that I am impervious to it.
calm, n.: Whether a field or an ocean, calm to be is always an expanse, and the only way I can get there is to become less crowded.
calumny, n.: When you black it out, sometimes I say you were mean, even when you weren’t, as punishment for the other nights you were.
calvary, n.: When I am trapped in an awkward corner, you know to come over and throw in the conversational crowbar that will set me free.
camera, n.: What I capture is something of you and something of the way I look at you.
camouflage, n.: There are still times at work when I feel I am playing dress-up, and then I come home to you and no longer feel ungenuine.
camp, v.: We wanted stars but instead got rain, the tent a leaking ship, the sleeping bag the life raft in our companionable misery.
campus, n.: Site of your youthful glories; I see it only makes you feel older, a bell that’s still heard, but is no longer a bell.
canary, n.: It gets bad enough that I am willing to kill the bird, send it into the coalmine, to ask if you think it will ever get better.
cancellation, n.: We love our friends, but we also love it when plans fall through, and we’re given the gift of open time.
candid, adj.: Whenever you nibble my ear, I just want to laugh. You think it’s sexy, but you’d be better off an inch or two lower.
candle, n.: It doesn’t create much light, but it gives us more with its flicker, a drawing in of space and time, an intimacy of air.
candy, n.: The desire for candy is tied up in a childlike sense of unfairness and reward; you can’t have something else, so you have this.
canker, n.: a disease that causes open wounds; in the dimmer days, a synonym for love, and from that, a synonym for life.
canon, n.: I am skeptical of your love of Salinger; the world will disappoint you, because you want it to disappoint you.
canoodle, v.: Can I confess, this part is my favorite, when lust and humor intermingle, when the fun banishes everything else.
canopy, n.: We draw the sheets over our heads, let the sunlight create a white cotton cloud for us to smile within.
canthus, n.: I spy your look as I push away; I am expecting contempt, but when I see confusion, I slow down, let you back into the field.
canvas, n.: We say it’s blank, but really aren’t we overpainting? Lines and colors bleed through. We must make them part of our creation.
canvass, v.: You disappear from the bar. I check everywhere, ask everyone, know nothing, want something.
capable, adj.: It’s the double proof we look for, that we are able to love someone that much, and inspire that much love in return.
cape, n.: In your underwear, blanket over your shoulders. I smile at the inadvertent superhero pose, and your smile back is your superpower.
caper, n.: A co-worker asks how we met; you say, “We were both trying to steal the Hope Diamond. Serendipity to try at the same time.”
capitulate, v.: You want the aisle seat much more than I want to avoid the middle seat, so that’s how it works. But I get the armrest.
capo, n: Press me tighter and you raise the pitch.
capricious, adj.: I can’t help but wonder how someone who takes ten minutes to choose a shirt can stay with the same person forever.
capsize, v.: Push me too far and we both hit the water. But sometimes that cold shock, that clutch for safety, is what we need.
caption, n.: I spend hours trying to win the contest in the back. You say the phrase “I told you to bring a penguin” works every time.
caramel, n..: The sexy song melts from the speakers; you dance veil-less and grinning, sweeping closer, closer to me.
carapace, n.: Sometimes I want to build the shell around us both, and sometimes I only want it around me.
carbon, n.: What’s left of us is a part we don’t even see.
card, n: I accuse you of not playing with a full deck, and you say it doesn’t matter, as long as you have the right five cards.
cardigan, n.: “It’s like wearing high school,” you say, and I marvel that it’s known you so much longer than I have, without unraveling.
care, n.: This is the core of it, that I want your happiness, your safety, your success just as much as I want my own.
career, n.: For me, this means a professional track; for you, it’s the lurch and sway onward, veering from point to point.
careful, adj.: Tell me the truth, but tell it to me with kindness.
caregiver. n.: Fear of the future is no reason to stay together, but I’ll admit it’s there, not wanting to be alone at eighty.
careless, adj.: You don’t introduce me into the conversation, so I stand there, awkwardly erased.
caress, v.: Hands and breath become interchangeable, the same sensation.
carnation, n.: The only level of commitment I was ready for in middle school was white, so when I got to high school, pink was a big step.
carnivore, n.: Watching you eat ribs, I feel a primal disgust.
carousel, n.: You ride among the six-year-olds, and I stand on the side with the parents, aniticipating your every gleeful arrival.
carp, v.: Your mother’s complaints shoot like fish from her mouth, then hit the dry land of your not caring.
carry, v.: It isn’t as clear-cut as halving the load. Love isn’t like that. I can carry the one bag that won’t fit in your full hands.
cartography, n.: None of the lines in your palm are long enough. I trace a line from there down to the sole of your foot for our future.
carve, v.: I don’t want to see my name in your arm, but I wouldn’t mind it if you scratched it onto a bench or a doorway.
cash, n.: When you’ve been drinking, ATM stands for At The Moment, and at those moments, my wallet’s usually the nearest.
cassette, n.: This was how I discovered music could be magnetic, and that the magnetism could be shared.
cast, n./v.: It’s a wide net that our characters fall into; when we enter each other’s lives, we bring so many people along.
castaway, n.: “You’re the one I’d take to a desert island,” you tell me, “even though neither of us can fish, hunt, or cook.”
castigate, v.: I hate it when you fill me with venom, which I release in a brutal tone I don’t want to be my own.
castle, n.: Build as big and ornate a fantasy as you want; if you’re living there alone, it’ll only make it seem emptier.
casual, adj.:The best way to say “I love you” isn’t with trumpets or profound silence,but with the steady, normal soundtrack of a heartbeat.
casualty, n.: We are not allowed to make out anymore while something is in the oven; too many dinners have been unmade this way.
catacomb, n.: There are burial grounds in your heart that you still haven’t opened for me to see.
catalyst, n.: At first, being with you is the reason for missing you. The risk is that missing you becomes the reason for being with you.
cataplexy, n.: The same paralysis can be caused by fear or ecstasy. I’d prefer the shock of you to be positive, but it isn’t always.
catastatis, n.: This time when you say we need to talk, I know it will lead to the confrontation we need.
catastrophic, adj.: To be left alone after giving you everything. How do you rebuild so many cities, so many lives extinguished within me?
catatonia, n.: I have had moments when all I could do was blink. I blinked my way out of them.
catch, n.: That tremor in your voice is the real you, pulling against what you’re saying, wanting me to know it’s still there.
categorical, adj.: No room for question? There is always room for question, in any category of speaking.
catenate, v.: The links in the invisible chain between us have different sizes and shapes, and some are more easily broken than others.
caterwaul, v.: When you’re howling, you don’t really care about hitting the right notes.
catharsis, n.: Why do you think I write all these things down?
cathedral, n.: We want our love to last, but we don’t have hundreds of years to build it.
catnap, v.: Stealing slumber on a Sunday afternoon; finding the sunny spot on the sheets and staying there, time evaporating.
causality, n.: After a while, it feels like it is all you-therefore-I, not I-therefore-you.
caustic, adj.: Men, I tell you, do not have muffin tops. They have spare tires. And you say, no, spare tires are kept out of sight.
caution, n.: You are unprepared to be alone.
cautionary, adj.: I am glad there are still princes and princesses, to spell out the fairy tales in more messy, realistic terms.
caveat, n.: I often disappoint myself, so I am bound to disappoint you.
cavort, v.: “I feel,” you said, “that to cavort, you need to be near a body of water, or a pool.” I showed you to the tub.
ceasefire, n.: Love is raising the white flag even when the war could last for days.
celestial, adj.: We drive north, past the light-shadow of the city, to sit in awe at the sheer depth of the universe.
cellular, adj.: Sometimes it feels that you’ve won me over on the most basic level, that even when I want to go, the body votes to stay.
cement, n.: There are mornings when I wake up and feel I’m drowning in cement, and I know I have to make it through before it dries.
cemetery, n.: We stand in reverential silence. We don’t know anybody buried here, but the point is that it could be anyone, could be us.
censor, v.: You try to gain power over me by gaining power over my words. It won’t work, because my words are stronger than you.
center, n.: I push and push to find out what’s at your core, afraid that when I get there, it will be written in a language I can’t read.
centerfold, n.: Hard to think of it now, the thrill that a magazine could give, that fantasies once came with staple marks.
centerpiece, n.: Drunkenly, you steal the arrangement from the wedded couple’s table, attempting to hide it under your shirt.
centrifugal, adj.: What if, instead of centering us, love really pulls us off our axis? The heart is nowhere near the center of the body.
cereal, n.: I am more likely to have it for breakfast and you are more likely to have it for dinner.
cerebral, adj.: Yes, you have your provable moments of intelligence, but I’d rather you be thoughtful.
ceremony, n.: Of course I think about it sometimes, all of our friends watching as we write our love down in gold.
certain, adj.: The closer you look at it, the more this becomes an imaginary word.
chafe, v.: That’s the rub, that the words that hold close can also hold too close.
chaff, n.: I’ve turned all your ex-boyfriends into straw men.
chair, n.: Such a part of love: sitting in separate places, but at the same table.
chalk, v.: “Chalk it up to experience,” my friends say. I do, but the chalk washes away the first time I rain.
challenger, n.: I am always aware when someone catches your eye for longer than a blink, as I fall into the periphery.
chance, n.: If I give you one, am I taking one?
change, v.: No matter how far you go from home, part of you will always be home. This applies to all change.
chant, n.: If I say your name enough times in my head, it becomes a sound. Sometimes the sound is holy, and sometimes it’s just noise.
chaos, n.: The wrongs are always more visible, the threats always closing in when in truth the world opens and opens and opens.
chapeau, n.: You said, “This gift can only be worn at a jaunty angle,” so now when I wear it, that angle is a wink in your direction.
chapter, n.: I wish my romantic history had a table of contents, so I would know how many pages we’re going to share.
char. v.: I find flavor in the damage.
characterize, v.: Of the five adjectives I choose, all of them have to do with thoughts, and none with appearance.
charade, n.: Three word phrase. First word “I.” Third word “you.” Despite your movements, second word unclear.
charge, v.: There’s the surge at the start, then it evens out into the comfort of knowing the electricity is always waiting in the walls.
charismatic, adj.: You could fill an ocean with all the free drinks you’ve flirted yourself into.
charity, n.: Consider it a donation to your better self.
charm, n.: You have to be careful, because sometimes when you turn it on too high, you attract snakes.
chase, v.: There’s no doubt that you will always be the one ahead, and I either have to learn to love the pursuit or step away from it.
chaser, n.: What if I’m the beer and someone else is the whiskey?
chaste, adj.: The delectable desire of being in the crowd and wanting each other badly, conveying it in the scantest of touches.
chastise, v.: “Don’t be so chaste,” you say, tugging playfully at my belt. A few of your friends laugh, but most look away.
chat, v.: You can never tell when the safety of words will hinge into the danger of words, when the meaningless means more than it should.
cheapen, v.: You stray, and what hurts me most is how devalued I feel.
checkmate, n.: You’ve left me with nothing but pawns, but we have you surrounded.
chemistry, n.: We say it’s a matter of chemistry, but isn’t chemistry as likely to produce toxins as it is charge?
cherish, v.: You say you wish there were a way to take my sleeping breaths, fold them up, and carry them in your pocket throughout the day.
chic, adj.: You insist that it’s French for “you look foolish.”
chicanery, n.: You manipulate the words and expect me to move along with them, as if I am the marionette to whatever truth you create.
childish, adj.: Adamant, I act like a human ball of want, focused on the one thing that’s so essential, at least for the next five minutes.
chill, n.: When it comes from the outside, we bundle into each other, but when it’s inside, we bundle into ourselves.
chimera, n.: I find myself alone in a pure, invulnerable moment, and wonder if the next moment will find me waking up.
chivalrous, adj.: The pregnant women always find it amusing to see us compete to be the one to give up the subway seat.
choice, n.: You have to remember, there is always a choice, in every situation. It’s just a matter of the strength it takes to make it.
choir, n.: I am suspicious of harmonious, unanimous advice; it rings clear, but I could belong to a different denomination.
choleric, adj.: I pretend that you’re the one who always springs the temper trap, but my fuse is easier to hide because it’s shorter.
choosy, adj.: My friends called it high standards when I said I’d rather be alone than be with someone who wasn’t better than being alone.
chore, n.: It must take strategy on your part, for me to be the one who always changes the toilet paper.
choreography, n.: I prefer to believe we make our own steps, but every now and then there’s a moment that feels plotted.
chromosome, n.: I feel I know your mother a little from the way you borrow her stern, judgy voice without noticing.
chronology, n.: Recollections never wait in a row. They wait in a crowd, some memories pushing to the front, demanding to be seen.
chrysalis, n.: The third night we were together, I started to feel the delicate hopes weaving.
church, n.: We lay on our backs and steepled our fingers together, creating a small, holy moment where no prayers need to be said.
cicatrix, n.: When a leaf falls off a branch, a scar remains. Departure marks us.
cinder, n.: Even when I try to cool myself to you, there’s a part that remains on fire, and will remain so even if we’re no longer together.
cinematic, adj.: I live for the moments when our small-screen existence suddenly becomes wide-screen, and we are swept into the panorama.
circadian, adj.: The waking and the sleeping are the turns of our tides, and everything in between is an unpredictable flow.
circle, n.: Is it the ring that keeps us contained or the wheel that moves us forward? Our momentum defines our shape.
circulatory, adj.: Why does the hurt last longer in my system than the euphoria? Is it my nature to be so unsettled?
circumnavigate, v.: My lips trace an invisible equator across your face; my finger continues the exploration around the back of your head.
circumstantial, adj.: My only evidence is what we do with our time together, and what you do with our time apart.
city, n.: It’s the silent partner in all we do, as many possibilities as there are lightbulbs, always familiar and never entirely knowable.
civil, adj.: We’re both so bad at disguising our fury; if I ever turned to you and saw a polite veneer, I’d know all was lost.
claim, v.: I know I should say that I want to be yours, but really I want to belong with you, not to you.
clairvoyant, adj.: It’s the most everyday of sixth senses, the way I can read your answers before they’re said aloud.
clamor, v.: Some days are like an ocean of kindergartners armed with pots and pans, and I have to try to find the melody beneath.
clan, n.: Whily my family seems like a gift, yours feels like a tyranny, the branches coming to grab you, instead of supporting.
clandestine, adj.: Our feet touch under the table and start their own conversation.
claptrap, n.: “When I was a kid, I could levitate,” you say after the ninth or tenth drink. “When I was a kid, I could fly.”
clarification, n.: You think that loneliness is something that can only happen if we’re apart, but that’s not true.
clasp, v.: As you heave with sobs, as the world splinters into your skin, I reach around your back and hold on.
classic, n.: A romance is a romance because it ends at the beginning. We don’t want to see the next forty years of Elizabeth and Darcy.
classmate, n.: You introduce him as someone you went to school with, but I can tell it’s not classrooms that he’s remembering.
classy, adj.: You slip the cigar ring onto my finger. “Do you know what that means?” you ask, then answer, “It means I smoked a cigar.”
clastic, adj.: How I wish the metaphorical heart was a physical, separable thing, so I could pull it from my chest and study it closely.
claustrophobia, n.: In order for a relationship to work, it needs many open windows and many open doors.
clean, adj.: I stand under the hot shower for long, mindless minutes, and let the day wash out of my body, down the drain.
cleave, v.: Rocks don’t split at random. There is a weak spot in the solid-seeming surface, and if enough stress is placed there, it breaks.
clever, adj.: Sometimes all we need is to be entertained by each other, to have the words fly and leave clever trails.
cliché, n.: It should really be “heels over head.” When you leave me head over heels, I’m just standing there.
climax, n.: The climax comes not when the truth is revealed, but when it is faced.
cling, v.: If you sense me holding back, it’s often because I fear my own neediness, and don’t want you to fear my neediness as well.
clinical, adj.: “What’s wrong with us?” I asked, and if you’d answered with a detached diagnosis, it would have been over.
clockwork, n.: The deep satisfaction of when we move in tandem, the two cogs in a small machine of our own devising.
cloistral, adj.: There is always the suspicion that it might be better to leave the world and stay in it at the same time.
closer, adj.: So come on.
cloudburst, n.: The catharsis that comes when the story rushes out, when the weight of the sky turns into the speed of the rain.
clover, n.: I knew it was love when you became the thing I wished for.
club, n.: Your group of friends; a blunt instrument
clueless, adj.: I find myself in the self-help section, but realize these authors can’t help, because none of them know you or me.
clumsy, adj.: The drunker you get, the more likely you are to drop things, like bottles or chips or my expectations.
coagulate, v.: It is a dangerous thing, this thickening of affection; you want it to have weight, but not to be an immovable burden.
coax, v.: Sometimes I’m the dog running around the room and sometimes I’m the cat hiding under the couch, and I need you to make it right.
cockfight, n.: You measure your worth in other people’s arguments, so you flirt with guys, and if I don’t defend myself, you’re offended.
cocktail, n.: The stronger you are, the weaker you get, and the stronger I need to be, even if it feels like a weakness.
cocky, adj.; You throw plates in the air, so sure I will catch them for you.
cocoon, n.: I have to believe that if we spend enough time wrapped up in each other, we will emerge together, more beautiful than before.
coda, n.: “I can’t read your mind,” you say. So I write down my thoughts and give them to you, watching your face as you read.
code, n.: Perhaps the best thing about “I love you” is that it can’t mean anything else.
codependency, n.: How strange that society tells us we must pair off, then defines this word as harmful.
coefficient, n.: Yes, the books on your shelves acted as the reference I needed to know it was right to be in your apartment.
coexist, v.: This is our bare minimum, and sometimes it’s enough. To be in the same room, and to feel there is room for us both.
coffee, n.: I asked you why you drank it black, and you said, “Let’s not kid ourselves. It’s the same thing as gasoline.”
cogent, adj.: I spend so much time refining my arguments that I sometimes forget why I’m making them, and then make them anyway.
cognition, n.: If the College Board were creating an aptitude test for our relationship, I would insist on an essay portion.
cognoscenti, n.: Uta gives us a long history of the dance, and I love you when you say, “I just want to watch it and decide for myself.”
cohabitation, n: It’s the silly, tender way I see the two toothbrushes perched there looking at each other, and think of them as us.
coincide, v.: It is randomness, yes, but there is also our own self-made trajectories that have made this wondrous crossing.
coke, n.: Your Southern vowels and Southern consonants add bubbles and sweetness even when you order a soda.
cold, adj.: You leave the room right after sex, and I lie there and shiver, feeling used and awful.
coleorhiza, n.: We forget that roots are fragile at first, and need protection as they gain their grip in the ground.
collaborate, v.: Work with me, here.
collage, n.: This is how my memory works, as I add images haphazardly, torn raggedly from life and glued in, not quite straight.
collapse, v.: At the end of the day, all that matters is that it is the end of the day, and your job is to let me end it my way.
collarbone, n.: When I hear that God is in the details, I think of the smoothness of your collarbone, the desire I keep there.
collateral, n.: You get the firsthand effects of all of my secondhand damage.
collection, n: Assure me I won’t join the other shelved boyfriends, some that get taken down from time to time, others that collect dust.
collide, v.: The energy released in our crashing must be regained in the aftermath pause, in the separation that only feels physical.
collocate, v.: I want to be two words that are often paired. I want to have my own meaning, but also have you always associated with me.
colloquial, adj. “You’re wicked phat,” you say, and I tell you, “You’re totally da bomb.”
collusion, n.: It’s when the right song plays at the wrong time, and I take it as a message from the universe that the song will triumph.
cologne, n.: I try it once and you recoil, telling me I have no need to pimp myself out to someone’s attempt to bottle and sell masculinity
color, n.: My blues are deeper than yours. Your reds are fiercer than mine. Our greens regard each other with suspicion.
colorblind, adj.: There are times I feel you only see black and white.
combustible, adj.: Even when things are going wrong on the outside, the fire destroys you from within.
come, v.: along, away, as you are, together
comfort, n.: It’s the steady presence of your breathing, the familiar traces of your warmth, the nearness of you, one small movement away.
comical, adj.: If you didn’t think life was funny, I don’t think I could take the thought of life with you seriously.
comma, n.: Is this the effect we have on each other, the power to force a pause, but not to end the sentence?
commemorate, v: Personally, I think they should all be paper anniversaries.
comment, v.: “The Internet,” you drunkenly assure me, “was invented so we could pass anonymous judgment on our exes.”
commiserate, v.: You can’t console me if you are the cause for consolation.
commitment, n.: I will never raise this word, because it’s written on a red flag.
commodity, n.: Time trumps all.
commotion, n.: Part of it is resentment; I want to let loose and bend all the attention towards me, but you always get there first.
commune, v.: To feel enormity, and to know you have a place in it.
commute, n.: The time when you are least alone, and most alone with your thoughts.
companion, n.: A much better term than “lover” for what I want.
comparatively, adv.: Seeing couples that don’t work, that are in the process of not lasting, makes me feel better.
compartmentalize, v.: I am a room in your home. Your family is in a storage locker in another state.
compass, n.: What does it mean that I look to you to know what’s fashionable, or what’s endearing, but not what’s fair?
compassion, n.: Then you’ll listen for hours as Kathryn chokes on her mistakes, and you will carefully unwind the cord from around her neck.
compatible, adj.: There is an alleged consistency in this word that does not actually exist in real life.
compendium, n.: The dictionary writer is supposed to be impartial, but the act of wanting to define is in itself an expression of desire.
compensate, v.: To brighten your charms because you fear that your weaker self will show beneath.
competition, v.: I only think it’s you against me when we are arguing about you and me.
complain, v.: To tire of your own voice, even as you are using it.
complete, v.: I wanted her to say, “You don’t complete me. I was meant to be incomplete.”
complex, n./adj.: You say I have a complex, but I think it’s just that I find life to be complex.
complication, n.: I can deal with anything you throw me, as long as I’m not being played.
compliment, n.: You don’t even have to be in the room to make me smile.
compose, v.: To tame yourself into articulation.
compromise, n.: A promise that you make together.
compute, v.: The site said we had 78% compatibility; later you would tell me it’s the farthest you’ve ever made it with a C+.
con, n.: Romance is the realm of the trickster, and only sometimes do I feel like I’m in on the joke.
concentrate, v.: As I lose focus on the people I meet, the people I knew, you are still the one I want to memorize.
conception, n.: It’s not the first time we met, but the first time we each, individually, decided to meet.
concern, n.: When you are alarmed enough to say it plainly.
concerted, adj.: I can see you assembling the orchestra of excuses, the soloist of regret, ready to perform this latest effort of yours.
concession, n.: I acknowledge my own fallibility, and that it’s not separate from who I am, no matter how much I treat it like a third party
concise, adj.: This is why “fuck you” always works, because it pierces through the vagueness.
conclusion, n.: The only conclusion I have come to is that nothing is ever over, not until everything is forgotten.
concoct, v.: Alcohol makes for a brutal love potion.
concordance, n: We both want our lives to matter; I recognize that in you.
condensation, n.: The intensity of you pressing against me, me pressing against you, brings liquid from the air.
condescending, adj.: You like to look down on me, but self-regard makes a very flimsy pedestal.
conditioned, adj.: I could never truly love someone who isn’t nice to waitresses.
condolence, n.: Your loss is so deeply personal that the best I can do is offer a thin line of color leading back to some light.
confection, n.: I want a natural sweetness from you, mixed with the tart and the bitter, more a cherry than a cake.
confess,v.: You burden becomes my burden as well, and we have to find a path to be free of it, if we can.
confidence, n.: The taller you stand in your conviction, the clearer I see the deep reflection of your doubt.
confiding, adj.: Secrets are the currency of trust, and I have made you rich without giving you everything I have.
confinement, n.: Alone with myself, you find how many selves I contain.
confirmation, n.: I like that I don’t have to sneeze for you to say “bless you.”
conflagration, n.: The anger stage comes when I realize that if I’m going to burn, you’re going to burn, too.
conflate, v.: I vow that we will never be one of those couples where you can mistake one person for the other.
confluence, n.: I think of the twisted paths that rivers take before they meet each other.
conform, v.: At first, I refused to live in Brooklyn.
confound, v.: “It’s an eggcup,” you explained as I held it up, thinking some mouse had left its cereal bowl in your cupboard.
confrontation, n.: You turn away from the truth when asked to face it, while I stare at it too long, until it becomes a blur.
confuse, v.: In the dream, you ask me to pick love out of a police lineup, and when I do, you say, “No, that’s the idea of love.”
congratulations, n.: You have steered yourself to the end of the day without crashing.
congress, n.: To think this was paired with ‘sexual’! If our sex ever feels like congress, I’m voting you out, even if you’re the incumbent.
congruity, n.: “Tit for tat,” you said, and I pointed out you were only exchanging one meaningless, small phrase for another.
conjecture, v.: “Once you’ve started,” you told me, “it’s hard to stop.” And I said, “If your mother walked in the room, you’d stop.”
conjugate, v.: I spend too much of my present trying to figure out what tense I am to you. The only one I rule out is past perfect.
conjure, v.: echo of cigarettes; the magazine left open by the side of the bed; your soap; the dog-ear on the page of the book you lent me
connection, n.: This word is not enough. It is a telephone line. A kite string. You can’t sum up the force of gravity with a drop of water.
conniption, n.: I need you to calm down and check your pockets before you say you’ve lost anything.
connive, v.: I may have known, that once, that I had a cold when I kissed you. I may have thought a sick day with you would be nice.
connotation, n.: I knew I was in for it when saying your name to someone else filled me with such incantatory delight.
conscience, n.: It’s not about how you sleep at night; it’s the days that should be harder when you fail someone you love.
conscious, adj.: I am right here. Right here.
consecrate, v.: It’s not the bottle of wine that gives the night its blessing, but the words that are uncorked and fill the air around us.
consecutive, adj.: It didn’t take long for you to admit my apartment was nicer.
consequence, n.: I cannot be the answer to all the damage in your past, only the alternative.
conservative, adj.: As governed by fear as by tradition.
considerate, adj.: This is the first thing to consider, when considering who you want to be with.
consistent, adj.: A heartbeat speeds and slows and, like love, its value is not in it’s clockwork steadiness but in its life-giving nature.
consolation, n.: It should not feel like a prize.
conspicuous, adj.: “I love you” is not meant to be an advertisement. Those who wear it too loudly tend to mean it the least.
conspiracy, n.: Sometimes our own chemistry gives us the weaker inclination; we need both our strength to outwit the interior monologues.
constancy, n.: Always be true to me by always being true with me. When I falter, lead me from my doubts with a steady certainty.
constellation, n.: Like the evershifting sky, your body yields surprises to me, tiny markers I have never noticed, designs within designs.
construct, v.: I know it should feel we’re building something together, but it never seems that solid, more spiritual in its shapelessness.
construe, v.: I must remind myself that you look at others because they’re interesting, not because you’re interested, and that I do it too.
consumed, adj.: At first, the days divided themselves between the ones when I saw you and the ones when I knew I wouldn’t.
contact, n./v.: We all have that touchpoint, the place we reach for without knowing it. For you, it’s my wrist. For me, your shoulder.
contagious, adj.: Starve a doubt, feed a hope.
contemplation, n.: The mind is a wild writer, and needs the editing talents of the heart.
contempt, n.: You only despise me when you’re drunk, but I have to wonder whether it’s a layer added or a layer revealed from underneath.
contentment, n.: There are moments when life feels like the undisturbed surface of a lake. No wind. No oars. No tide. A beautiful stasis.
context, n.: I have never been in love like this before. I never allowed myself to want it. Because I never thought I would get here.
contingency, n.: “Don’t move in with anyone,” Kathy said, “if you don’t have friends who will take you in if things go wrong.”
continue, v.: If life, there’s no such thing as a cliffhanger. You send me over the edge, and there is immediately a moment after.
contour, n.: It’s only when you’re in bed with someone that you realize how rarely you put the sensation of touch to use.
contraband, n.: I engraved the birthday flask with the phrase OBJECTS IN THE FUTURE ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.
contradictory, adj.: I didn’t know how to explain to you that I loved you so much that I wanted to run away from it.
contrail, n.: Like a child, looking for his house from the air – sometimes I am that far away, but still looking at each roof to find you.
contrapositive, adj.: If you are a liar, then you are also not right for me.
contrariwise, adj.: “Yes, I lied,” you tell me, “but that does not make me a liar. I tell the truth much more often.”
contrast, n./v.: I get tired of up days and down days, and only want days that are on the level of what we need and expect.
contrite, adj.: I lie just as much as you do.
contrivance, n.: I work so hard to clear the first act of guns, so none will go off in the third.
control, n.: Some play relationships like a rivalry, gathering points and allies. Winner takes all, and it doesn’t mean a thing.
convenient, adj.: Love, I’ve found, works on its own schedule.
conventional, adj.: To belong in a convent.
conversation, n.: We talk ourselves into closeness, our words revealing a little more than we usually do.
conversion, n.: Belief is a choice, until it doesn’t feel like a choice anymore.
convey,v.: Words can only be a map of the landscape of my emotions.
conviction, n.: I find you guilty of believing in your side of the story a little too much.
convince, v.: The moment I start to try to argue you into not leaving is the moment I’ve already lost.
convivial, adj: You don’t like to throw parties; you like to catch them.
convoluted, adj.: The predominant esoteria of my hyperinflated verbiage sometimes precludes my meaning from a crystalline reception.
cool, adj.: Yes, you play it cool, but I can see the hot edges, and know that you’re playing.
cooperation, n.: It only takes one of us to screw in a lightbulb, but it’s much more entertaining with two.
copacetic, adj.: Neither of us is agreeable by nature, but sometimes we give the guards the day off, and allow ourselves to foolishly grin.
cope, v.: The only mechanism that can help you is your own mind, and it needs to be convinced.
coprology, n.: I am glad you do not suffer from this, because I couldn’t deal with such shit.
copycat, v.: I steal feel when I order the same thing as you that this is evidence to the waiter that I am incapable of original thought.
cordial, n./adj.: If they are going to name a drink after this adjective, they should limit you to just one.
corduroy, adj.: Not the smooth silk or the starchy wool or the purr of velvet. We want the comfort, the well-worn, to be who we are.
core, v.: I fear I am hollow.
corona, n.: Surrounded by a thin cloud, the reaction can be a halo of light. I walk around in a thin cloud,but there can be such brightness.
corporeal, adj.: There are times when I’m kissing you that I feel released from my body.
corporeity, n.: In moments of extreme happiness, I cannot help but think, “I exist. I am here. This is happening.”
correctness, n.: A consideration for the truth.
correspond, v.: Write me long letters and I will love you for it.
corrigendum, n.: There is a major difference between an error that will never be corrected and one that will be.
corroborate, v.: “What do you think?” I asked my friends, but I wasn’t looking for dissent, only proof.
corruptionist, n.: This should go on your business card, because my qualms have no chance against your greater persuasions.
corsage, n.: I don’t believe in the truncation of flowers. No matter how they’re proffered, they look awkward, unworthy of the moment.
cosmopolis, n.: I can’t imagine any other backdrop for us than this mad, indifferent, interfering, wondrous wallop of a city.
cost, v.: I get trapped by “do or die” when really it’s just “do or don’t.”
couch, n.: I prefer mine to be lime-green. Everyone knows this.
countdown, n.: When the clock reverses itself, and you’re marching toward the day it will be over, rather than adding from the day it began.
counterbalance, n.: When I am weight, you are lightness. When I am lightness, you are weight. We cannot both be weight at once.
counterfeit, adj.: You go through all that trouble to fake a smile; it’s like an artist spending hours to make a dollar bill.
counterintuitive, adj.: When your intuition is to go against your intuition, all bets are off.
country, n.: Of course, it is such a privilege to live such ruminative lives.
couple, n.: I have never wanted to be seen as a singular entity with you.
courageous, adj.: It takes courage to put things to rest, and even more to allow yourself to rest after they are gone.
court, n./v.: There are moments you try to court me, and I respond by taking you to court. The jury? Twelve moods of mine.
cover, n.: I will answer the phone and tell your mother you’re not here. I will be the white lie that shields you from the darker ones.
cowardice, n.: By writing this down, I know I will not have to meet your eye. But it’s the only way I can release a more truthful version.
cozy, adj.: Breathing beside one another.
crabby, adj.: Your face becomes as red as the bright, breakable shell, and I try to be the cold water that will stop the boil.
crabby, adj.: Your face becomes as red as the bright, breakable shell, and I try to be the cold water that will stop the boil.
crapulence, n.: This is actually a word for when you drink too much. Someone at Webster’s has a sense of humor.
crash, n.: The drinking gives you wings, but I can tell the moment they stop working, and know you’ll wake up with a headful of wax.
crave, v.: Nothing makes me feel as welcome in the world as the sound of you laughing at a joke I’ve made.
crawl, v.: When you feel like you’re crawling, it’s time to stand up and leave.
crazy, adj.: We throw around the cartoon version of this word, but I’m always worried the real definition is lurking beneath.
create, v.: I love life most when it feels like an act of creation – with me, with us, with every word and feeling I add to the world.
creature, n.: If these can truly be born of habit, I worry mine is an owl so lost in thought that he’s easy prey in the wild.
credibility, n.: You lose it the minute you proclaim “I’m not drunk!”
credit, n.: We borrow against each other’s good will, even when it isn’t clear how deep the reserve goes.
crenellation, n: At the faintest sign of attack, I will not let you through.
crepitate, v.: Uncertainty has a sound, a static electricity caught between your ears, there underneath everything else you hear.
crescendo, v.: The kisses start slow, then amplify. What belonged to the lips now belongs to the body.
crime, n.: It’s not like there are laws. I can’t call the police to say you’ve cheated. It’s a more personal crime than that.
cringe, v.: I swear it was because your hands were cold.
criticism, n.: In college, I loved to ask, “What’s the thing about me that most needs fixing?” It never went well.
croon, adj.: The serenade springs from nowhere, my happiness overflowing into a silly song I spin for you as you do the dishes.
crow, v.: Boasting is indeed a dark bird.
crowd, n.: I feel smothered, inconsequential, pressed while you take energy from every body in the room.
crucial, adj.: Please tell me if it’s not working.
crude, adj.: I mistakenly said the word could never be used beautifully; you replied, “How lovely when the diarrhea blooms in spring!”
cruel, adj.: We both brandish the dagger words time to time, but the moment we twist them, it stops being unusual and becomes unacceptable.
cruise, n.: I envy the way you can sightsee your way through life, and envy even more some of the men you sightsee.
crumb, n.: I horde the smallest compliments, and feel like a mouse.
crush, n./v.: Best lines ever on the subject: “By definition a crush must hurt. And they do. And they do.” – that dog
cry, v.: Why do I cry more at things in the distance than at things right in front of me?
cryptic, adj.: That time with the seashells.
cuddlesome, adj.: The teddybear’s version of friskiness, a welcome infusion of playfulness.
cue, v.: I set them up as door-openers – what’s going on? is everything okay? – but you see them as traps.
cuisine, n.: We keep meaning to learn to cook something that would count as cuisine. In the meantime, we order pizza.
culpability, n.: I take responsibility for my responselessness, for assuming I can spell things out in silence when I can’t.
cult, n.: I always looked askance at people who had to be in a relationship.
cumulative, adj.: We exist not just in this moment, but in all of the moments we’ve had before it. Love is the entirety, not the flashpoint.
cumulonimbus, adj.: I want the storm to come, because then the storm will soon be over. It is not the nature of clouds to stay for long.
cupidity, n: Is love, indeed, a form of greed? What exactly does Cupid get out of shooting the arrow, except mischief?
curator, n.: My past is a museum of experiences, and I can only display a small fraction of the collection to you at any given time.
curfew, n.: Whether it was my parents laying down the law or the specter of an early day of work, I always want to sneak in the extra hours.
curio, n.: It was there in an old school copy of Moby Dick – I didn’t open it, but held to the notion of your letter-writing youth.
curious, adj.: The cat decided it was worth the risk, because otherwise he’d live in the same room his whole life, cornered and bored.
curmudgeon, n.: My inner old man sounds a lot like my inner little kid, petulant that the world refuses to bend to his way.
curse, v.: F-words are not curses; they’re punctuation. A true curse is made of words that cut into you, the witchery of cruel intent.
cursive, adj.: Define me by the looped and the erratic, not the fine calibrations of block type.
cursory, adj.: You tell me what I want to hear and then the prompt hangs blinking in the air, awaiting me to provide my appreciation.
curvature, n.: In the mirror I see only the wrong curves. It takes the darkness and your touch to show me the right ones.
custody, n.: “If we break up,” you say, “I get the Vonnegut.” “If we break up,” I say, “you will get nothing but Plath.”
custom, n: Your mom always hid Easter eggs, and even though she tortures you now, you insist on hiding them for me, carrying on.
cute, adj.: If this is what you want from me, get a puppy instead.
cycle, n.: If you can’t break it, step sideways and out of it.
cycloramic, adj.: In happiness, I want to reach out to all 360 degrees of the world.
cynical, adj.: When the outer world seems so tainted that it taints your inner world.
cypher, n.: You tell me I’m as inscrutable as you are, but I seem so clear to me.