WHEN WORDS FAIL
They are slippery, evasive, coy,
dangling on our tongues,
sometimes, yes, at the tip,
and sometimes on an edge,
not big enough to bite,
or near enough to taste,
resting on molars, or canines,
and reappearing in a flicker,
Once in a while, they are gremlins,
gumming up the works,
But it always seems the ones we deeply crave,
those that will plait our thoughts
into a seamless chain,
dodge into remote, cranial crevices
when we call them.
And then it takes four or five or six words
to say, all too poorly, what one would have said—
the one which won’t be found in a thesaurus
because even its synonyms have hidden in solidarity.
Those are the words that keep us
imagining they’ve been sucked
from their shallow holes
into some bottomless eddy.
Those are the words that really bedevil.
Until, by some miracle—
their noses reemerge,
unguarded, quivering, curious,
and ready to multiply….
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