I must—em—dash

If I were a punctuation mark
I know I’d be a dash—
an em-dash.

Not an en-dash! (–)

En-dashes are in a hurry.

The en-dash is The White Rabbit;

the em-dash—

more like the Cheshire Cat.

Mysterious; possibly sinister.

An en-dash has no time for Mystery! No, no–the en-dash has places to go.

People to see. All very important.

I hear you ask,

What is this “em-dash” of which you speak, O Poet?

Is there such a thing? Ne’er have I heard tell of it.

Oh, yes!
There really is such a thing.
Only Word-Nerds—
editors, for example—
know its proper name.
But it’s real enough.

What I love about it
is its subtle promise
of more to come—

(See? Don’t you love it!)

Like a raindrop on a leaf,
quivering on a green edge—

(wait for it)—


Soooo satisfying.

I love the unspoken-ness,

the possibility-full-ness,

the downright seduction of

The Dash.

It’s the crooked finger,

the backward glance,

the tongue-tip touching—

ever so slightly,

ever so lightly—


April 4, 2012

2 thoughts on “I must—em—dash”

  1. Yea! Love the exploration of punctuation. I love using the dash, but many typefaces ignore it and the poor em looks ugly. Some are short, or with a flourish at the end, but most are too long. Nice, JCubed.

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