Talk About Love


Propagate and fornicate,
procreate and copulate:
Latin for our base desires.
Anglo-Saxon’s signifier’s
squarely barnyard, bold and blunt—
less a human word than grunt.
Nomenclature’s complicated;
any word you pick is freighted
with the ones you leave unsaid.
When we’re lying here in bed,
conversation’s overrated;
doing what we do is fated.
Language tangles what we mean—
love or lust or in between?
Quiet’s truer when we touch—
when we talk, we talk too much.

Lisa Barnett’s poems have appeared in The Formalist, The Hudson Review, Poetry, Snakeskin, Valparaiso Poetry Review, the anthology Sonnets: 150 Contemporary Sonnets, and elsewhere. She is a three-time Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award finalist and is the author of two chapbooks. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband.