Some people say
you're just a scribal leftover
with an overblown name,
an ambiguous slash
on the keyboard's margins
prone to either/or poses.
A scratch comma to the core,
I've never heard you shout
in full-throated exclamation,
or seen you enjoy the satisfaction
of a full stop. You are singularly
awkward, but to dismiss you
with a sneer feels
like the graver crime.
Is that not a flock of virgules
too distant to know
if their wingbeats
are syncopated or synchronized?
Is there anything more beautiful
than a plum tree's blooming virgules
after a stormy night?
Poet’s Notes: This poem started out as something of a mock writing prompt: what would it be like to write about a punctuation mark? Apart from a lot of interesting background research about typography, it grew into a meditation on the beauty of ambiguity, which is certainly not where I thought I was going when I started.
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