The Word
Lauren Becker

His smile promises the salvation written by the boy he was before he was this boy. I climb into his beautiful mouth and I am his mouth and his pain and his words. And I am salvation and I am saved. And I am safe. And I bring him there with me and the words are good and better and enough and deserved and forgiveness and for a minute, an hour, a night into morning, we are safe. We do not know safety. Though I should know, I look to him for guidance. He looks to a bottle and climbs into the bottle and becomes the bottle and comes out another boy. And I fall from his mouth in his carelessness and I think that if I stay close, he might smile again and for however long it will be -- a minute, an hour, a day -- I will curl up in the folds of the smile that I made as temporary sculpture and be the words again. And I am wrong. And that is right. And when I fall, I leave him the word. Forgiveness.