A Guide to Proper Punctuation

I put quotation marks
around every item
you looked at,
like the yamulke,
the samovar,
the Chinese scroll painting.
All the objects around us
had quotation marks
hovering about them,
kind of like mosquitoes.
So many commas
fell out of your mouth,
armored with saliva,
antique chewing gum,
and meals from the Mayflower.
You spat out a last comma,
it landed on the hardwood floor
with a satisfying kerplunk.
Then you rolled your eyes,
thinking about how annoying
my exclamation and question
marks can be.
After you fell asleep,
I unraveled myself from your grammar
and considered stabbing you to death
with a run-on sentence.
I could have butchered you with dashes –
instead, I pulled some leftover ampersands from
your mouth, carefully so as not to wake you.
Oh you looked so gentle,
dreaming about plastic surgeons
doing their best work on serif fonts.
I turned up the volume of the night
to hear the footnotes of your dreams.