by Benjamin Grossman

May might be the mightiest word, crowning an entire month in blooms. It is not one, but five, which Roman numerals match with V, the first letter to come after U. Astrology binds the verb to a bull (“The Steer or Heaven”) and twins (“The Great Twins”). Both spring and autumn spice up this time of year, marked by the rising of emerald-colored things and the falling of oranges, reds, browns. Had it not been for may, the Pilgrims would have sailed to America on a flower. And what would maybe, mayhem, and mayor mean without may: just be, hem, or. The word alone offers hope that the devil cares. May, after all, defeats choice. It marries yes to no in nuptial joy. We may as well bow down to May, for it holds the ability to influence what comes.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The above prose poem was written with the idea of creating a poetical history for the word “may.” It attempts to piece together the various definitions of “may” across place, time, and the human experience.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Benjamin Grossman received his MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College. His work is published or forthcoming in the Rusty Nail, Eunoia ReviewApiary, The Camel Saloon, and The Bookends Review. Currently, he blogs about the crumbling existence of taboo at His novel The Land Without Footprints: Shadows Amongst Shadows (Sweatshoppe Publications, 2013) is available at