Can you see a word?

By Cindy Koch

If I could only see a word. Beginning as a bubble somewhere deep inside, filling with meaning and pictures and referents as it rises to the mind. Floating gently or thrashing turbulently behind the eyes, waiting to be released. Finally, the mouth opens, the fingers twitch. Blinding rays from the external exposure reach inside for just a second. Drawn to the fresh air of freedom, a word finds her flight.

If I could only see a word. As she drifts up the throat and past the tongue, her perfectly round intended form bursts into a thousand pieces. Millions of meanings, numerous nuances. The speaker can only watch it dissipate before his eyes. Countless breaths on the outside swirl and mix the foggy mist of a word. Lost in a wide world, a word wafts away.

If I could only see a word. Pressed out of the fingers, pounded on to a lighted slab. She is set at attention, motionlessly, silently. She speaks with no voice. She laughs with no smile. She cries with no tear. Although she is drawn with a face, her heart and soul remains locked up behind the typeface. Prodded and yet preserved, a word stoically stands still.

If I could only see a word. Dancing around unexpecting ears, tickling the thoughts of those who hear. Curtseying before skeptical eyes, all dressed up for someone to read. But she splashes in my memories and builds new castles with my hopes and dreams. She drags her toes in my muddy past and holds up the bloody fists of the one who let it in. In the mind of one who listens, a word is born a thousand times.

Yet, it is rumored we once saw a Word. Walking down the dusty paths of a dirty world, wading in the unclean water of a thirsty land. Established before the creation of everything, this Word didn’t bubble up from inside. Strong and true, this Word was never fractured into pieces. This Word breathed, ate, cried, bled. Unchanging and patient, it touched the untouchable and called life into dead bodies. But we didn’t understand it. This Word was killed on a tree.

If I could only see this Word. Painting light into the sky, feeding the poor and hungry, raising friends from the grave. This Word isn’t held captive to my misunderstandings or my broken heart. This Word cannot be defined by anything from inside of my head, my soul, my experience, or my pain. He is an external Word. Flooding over the foolish, drowning the disobedient, yet remembering me and calling my name. He opens the mouths of the dead. He breathes into me His own breath. He feeds me His own food. This Word lives.

If I could only see this Word. Painting light into my black heart, feeding strength and endurance to my weak body, only to raise this chamber that is filled with shadowy words. This Word would change everything.