He kept old crossword puzzle dictionaries—
binding their broken spines with duct tape.
He said that words disappeared
from one edition to the next. “You never know
when you might need that one clue to finish a puzzle—”
some he had laid aside quite awhile ago, forgotten or
fallen behind—“You never know if
it will ever come back.” New words come
into being within new editions. Our language changes—
whatever’s popular; old words no longer needed—used.
As I flipped through, marveling over the pages,
I never actually looked to see—to compare—
he would know, why should I question it.
Now that he no longer needs them,
I’ve kept these tattered old books, the
front covers long gone, eroded away
from years of handling—he made new ones, but
now those are just as torn, creased, and grimy;
the collected pages aged and mellowed,
the oldest tomes discolored and torn—
even the duct tape
has seen better days—imagine that if you can.
It’s been suggested that I should throw them away,
but I won’t—I rescued them from the trash
once already—to be honest,
I don’t much like the idea of words
Disappearing words, LJWR, 1/5/2014