I foolishly assumed 
I had mapped the power 
of prose and poetry, of words. 

But the other day, 
I happen upon a notion 
that took my breath away:

some words — 
news articles, think pieces, exposes — 
taste better fresh off the press,

like how soup’s best served hot
and the freshness of vegetables 
dwindles through the days,

while others flow better the next day,
3 AM lyrics refined till morning 
like the small joy of leftover pizza,

yet the sentiments of I’m here for you 
and promises of We’ll get through 
can sour at the hands of their baker, 

can be appealing until swapped sugar  
and salt assaults a tongue, cotton candy 
words melting into sweet nothings,

just as the vow of forever 
sits as soapy cilantro in one mouth 
but is refreshing in another,

and the picked clean classics endure 
like edible flowers persisting 
through their networks of roots. 

Truly, words are strange
and beautiful and unmappable 
and unflappable and like food

(though I fudged the last bit, 
whisked the ‘food for thought’ 
away into ‘food as thought’).