Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I love this word. It's fancy,
It's hardly necessary,
It has a plain synonym,
"Scar," in English, but shows up
In literature, web searches,
Libraries, Latin, Spanish,
French, and Italian, a sound

Like a cicada singing,
Ugly and extravagant
And hinting at ugliness,
The coarse red course of the world
Down our backs, out of sight, fierce,
Identifying, swollen,

And signifying either
Illness, war, or suffering
At the whim of punishers.
Better still, its origin's
"Unknown," "uncertain," unproved.
How did the Romans find it?
From the Etruscans? Cretans?

Some other linguistic group
With no representative
Among living languages,
Not Indo-European,
Not even Neolithic?
Was this a word the hunters
And foragers at the end

Of the human invasion
Of the retreating ice sheets
Borrowed from Neanderthals?
I doubt it. But I like it.
It sounds just bizarre enough
To be a scar. I doubt life,
I doubt truth. But I like it.

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