On Love’s History

Whenever a love is lost, it signifies a language
shared by two people, unique to them, becomes
a dead tongue, some forgotten dialect that’s gone.

To speak and write, in our field always turns
to spoke and wrote. We’ve no way to recover
everything completely, usually because there are
only a small percentage of words discovered,
as here, on ripped bits of paper. This fragment ends
with something “test” – their alphabet apparently
similar to ours – fits jaggedly together, a jigsaw puzzle
piece, with this one here, the next word appearing
to begin with “lo,” although you see we only have
the bottom half it seems. The more of their writing
we unearth, the better educated guesses we can make,
too, about the way they spoke. At best we speculate
this way in all archaeological and linguistic work.

Our tentative guesses begin here then, with merely
“test” and “lo” from which we’ll resurrect all we can
as other pieces flesh the story out. We’ll never know
to a certainty what they wrote or how they spoke,
since they are only ghosts now, souls buried by history,
destroyed in some way we don’t understand. But
as I say, give us time, we may yet learn much more
of who they were, the why and how they passed away.

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