Only This and Only This

a sonnet


To understand these words

You must remember

The grammar you disclose.

Take the knife from the kitchenette

And indicate so-and- so.

But what is he pointing to?

And the knife – will dinner be served?

Only this and only this:

You have come

Ever so naturally; across whose legless trails

Cornfields swoon ripe, then gray.

Then, only this: the gestures and not-images…

Queerly enough, primal elements are rediscovered,

I think of these words as instruments.


Analogy to a Former Use


  1. A Time for Language

What mentation will accompany these expressions

Whose meanings bore us no justification,

And understandings were ghosts

Dying in our springs?


  1. A Time for Chess

What conveying, from anyone to anyone,

That by exchanges, can leave the bishop unaltered?

A white hat twists on the paper king

Who asks, over and over,

What shall I mean?


III. A Time for Logic

You will cast these meanings – primitive, various –

Over your shoulder into its unsigned calculus…

Intangibility, you see, is sometimes tangible,

He calls it purring, and she calls it growling.

Nonetheless facts of non-existence must forever laugh at us,

Like a poor sort of memory – remember? – that only works backwards.


Stephano Pereira is an undergraduate in philosophy at the University of Florida. He likes reading his poems to his parakeet, Ambergris.