They’re Only Words

poem by Dave Morrison

they can’t harm you;
on paper clusters of tiny bird
footprints, hieroglyphs, maps,
symbols, shapes drawn in the dirt
with a stick, traces of graphite, lines
of ink like the slick of a tiny black
snail, marks, scratches, stains.

To the ear they are just puffs of
breath chewed, kissed, bitten,
massaged; just a collection of
sounds put together like beads
on a string.

So why do I feel like words are
the bullets in a high-powered
rifle I have been given with no
training for its safe use?  I just
want them to be small gifts,
morsels of food, the call of
a wise bird.