this is my new 24 letter alphabet. it spells the words of a murmurous language that, if you hear it but don’t know it, sounds like the lapping of waves on a rocky lake superior beach. it doesn’t contain the words for guilt, or mistake. artists find it easy to praise each other in this language, but also to correct in a gentle way that makes other artists’ work better. politicians find it very difficult to use for some reason, and so they don’t speak much, and are forced to concentrate and listen hard. children pick it up instinctively, and get to pass it on to older people in a way that makes them feel proud of themselves and optimistic about the world and their own futures. in this language there are thousands of words for “tree.” but there are also thousands of slightly obscene words that make people laugh. in this language, when people are dying, it is easy to talk to them in a way that tells them you see them just exactly the way they have always wanted to be seen, and that wherever in their lives they have struggled, you have understood how hard it was.
leaves of an unidentified winter stem