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X marks each spot where I would like to kiss
you, dear. That’s why this map is full of them,
though I will never show this map to you.
I’m too afraid to tell you how I really
feel, so in each letter I have written
you, I’ve hidden xs somewhere, secret
kisses veiled in talk of other things.
For instance, when I wrote to you about
the xenops on the branch outside our house—
ridiculous, of course. Those birds are native
to the tropics. Or the time I wrote
about the mile-long xylophone? There was
no xylophone. Just one more buried kiss.
I got no x-rays of my hip, nor did
I spot a Xiphias gladius on a deep
sea fishing trip—those swordfish are elusive.
That is why there’s talk of chromosomes
in all my letters, x most frequently.
I know it’s silly. Hiding all these kisses
in these letters to you, none of which
I’ve ever sent. I keep them in this box
beside the map, then hide the box beneath
my bed. And this confession goes there, too,
sealed with a kiss I’d rather give to you.

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