Disappearing words

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 either.

Disappearing words, LJWR, 1/5/2014