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
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.