Missing In Action By Giles Selig

Missing In Action

I can't complete this poem successfully
Because to do that I'd need every word
And one of them (I can't remember which)
Has flown the coop, escaped my mind.
Now I cannot recapture it.
  
Aside from this my verbal repertoire
Remains intact -- I give you mogadore,
Lazaret, propinquity, twerking, zarf,
Famulus, bannock, quink, poltroon --
The total lexicon, less one.

Of course, the harder I pursued this word
The more remote its memory became,
While other words danced blithely in my brain.
Still, I pressed on about my day,
The lost word still eluding me. 
 
There ought to be a meta word for this,
I tell myself, for when a word takes flight
To thrust its meaning into other realms
And leaves behind an emptiness
The reader may not even sense.
 
Thus you lose too -- I'm sorry about that,
Though I myself don't really miss this word,
Nor have the means to summon it back home,
My puppy that has wandered off,
My butterfly, my wind-blown seed.
 
Oh, well.  A writer can find workarounds:
The night is dark; and Eden, paradise;
And oceans, seas; and more, et cetera --
Though certain things (like bowling balls)
May not have wordly substitutes.
 
What vexes me about this small affair
Is how it triggers wacky, errant thoughts
That someone else might hunger for, not me;
And could as well be left to him,
To culminate his fantasy.
 
Perhaps this happens, too, when one is dead
And looks back longingly on one's lost life,
Beyond time's thick, impenetrable wall,
To glimpse instead a virgin bride,
With roses, on a stranger's bed.

DEFINITIONS FOR THE CURIOUS

mogadore      ribbed silk used in making neckties

lazaret       between-decks storage space in ships

propinquity    closeness

twerking      sexually suggestive dancing

zarf          ornamental holder for a handleless cup

famulus       magician’s or scholar’s attendant

bannock       Scottish oat-cake

quink         a gray goose

poltroon      cowardly to the extreme

wordly        (some jerk just made that up)

Giles Selig (a pseudonym) writes anonymously in Rhinebeck, NY.

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