Three Endearments

Anna Lena Phillips Bell

“Lover, let our / love rule ever"

Endearment

……Laud a bad guy,
……dub a gal ugly—
……a bad day,
……glub by glub.
……Lay by a glad day—
……a dab, a daub,
……a gaudy bud.
……Land ably,
……ladybug.

Endearment

……Better nab a tea urn,
……a batter beater,
……a bun tub,
……a neater tenet.

……Beat a taunt,
……rebut a brute.
……An unbeat nature,
……an utter ebb—

……Tune, retune,
……bee tureen.
……Turn true,
……tuna beret,
……benter tuba,
……butter bean.

Endearment

……Lover, let our
……love rule ever,
……duel or duet,
……lode or letter.
……Red velour to
……duvet over
……deer, otter,
……ovule, elver.
……Oud to lute,
……étude to reel—
……vetted, uttered—
……ever revel,
……o true love, o
……turtle dove.


This poem was first published in the Here/Away issue (vol. 25, no. 4: Winter 2019).

ANNA LENA PHILLIPS BELL is the author of Ornament, winner of the Vassar Miller Prize. Her work appears in 32 Poems, the Southern Review, and Quarterly West. She teaches at UNC Wilmington, where she is the editor of Ecotone, and calls ungendered Appalachian square dances in North Carolina and beyond.