In defining love, every poet becomes a synesthete—
trying to explain why the letter A is red, or rattle
tastes oaky, trying to order the unfiltered mind:
you orbit the dense, central bridge of my mind the way
twelve numbers every hundred form a chronometric solar system.
I cannot visit my friends’ newborn because baby powder
sounds like a man and woman searching for catharsis
in each other’s mouths. I love you as surely as
twenty-two is closer to my heart than fifteen,
and September is more trustworthy than June.
When I taste Korean food, I lose the ability to distinguish
my mouth from my ears, my throat, my navel—
the awareness of my limbs as distinct and specialized.
Or maybe it can be expressed as simply as this—
when I said time with you feels like two galaxies
recklessly merging their satellites and stars, I meant
I’m already torn from the orbit that anchored me.

  • Synesthesia can affect any sensory pathway, not just the commonly known ones of hearing, sight, smell, taste, & touch. There are also internal senses like temperature (thermoreception), self (proprioception), pain (nociception), & balance (equilibrioception), among others.
  • This poem was first published in Beecher's (University of Kansas).