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There is a word that wants you to write about it. The word’s exact definition (or multiple possible definitions) are mysterious or confusing or unknown to you, even if you think you know what this word means. The word in search of you is on this list of words below, and as soon as you see it you will know which word it is: you will know it and it will know you. Choose it and stick with it. The word itself won’t matter. Since this is our 22nd prompt, repeat this word out loud to yourself 22 times. By the end of that, it will mean nothing to you. It will be a word no one ever used until it found you. Now write (for ten minutes) a definition of this word that has nothing to do with its actual meaning. Instead, look around you. Chagrin is a plastic water bottle. Describe the plastic water bottle. It’s also a cat’s scratching post (I’m looking around me). Now, describe whatever your eye lands on (whether you’re in your own place or outside or wherever you are) and put it in your definition of this word. If you get stuck, just go deeper into one of the things. (My water bottle is ¾ full, and there’s a little crown of air bubbles sparkling around the ¾ mark. Just like chagrin.) If you get to a revising stage, you could format this like an actual dictionary definition. You can look at dictionary—a real one or on the internet—to find this format if you don’t already have that in your head! (I’d need to look again, personally.)

grayscale      golem         chagrin               halcyon

zephyr         waveform    blandishment   arabesque

cipher         chromatic    rheumy

grimoire     ligature        idolatry               olive


Dandelions on a hill and burns low like the setting sun,
Love learned in blue bows in golden hair,
Love earned by the fruit of a lemon tree,
Halcyon, dear friend,
Smiles at me
At the end of a long day.

By Jodi Ann Korte

inexpensive perfumed oak
oddly, maple leaf embellished
and only three days-worth of dust
‘d normally gone unnoticed
coffee rings stains seen
ignored so many times,
deep feelings nicked
on the softness of hard wood
heavy doors, multiple drawers
a shame to throw away,
almost impossible to move
perhaps painted black, or moody
grey to suit the spirit match
sighing start somewhere, start
small, the upper left cuts forward,
pulls on a groan and scrape
the last significant place
for ins and outs, morning, night
necessary accoutrements, now
just small storage
time keepers, cuff linkers, tacks
for ties with too much time
necked in place, old, but not antique
not worth much or the worry of keep
kept to cradle after fact
a silent heart attack
still attacking hearts left behind.

Considering the clarinet
By Renée Szostek

the ligature
to hold it, the reed could
not sound. Yet people say the reed
is all.

Considering the clarinet (2)
By Renée Szostek

the ligature’s
holding it, the reed could
not sound. Yet people say the reed’s
the thing.


Tangled seaweed. In this dream:
you’re at the center of it.
You wake up screaming.
The impossible has returned.
You’d apologize, but how

can you, without desire? Still—

you know you said what you said.
Ohers heard it. You stood up
in front of the whole class
and told them the only words
worth a definition should be

darkness, your
mother’s last breath, and
an animal (hunted—that

animal’s adrenaline, shredded
tax forms and the scent
of tulips: which is
nothingness, unless
it the stinky, delicate
feet of your ex-best friend’s
favorite honeybee.

Everyone wants to be appreciated
and believed. The steak
you ordered with your salad
longed to live as long as it could.

We all do. And then, freed
from the tangle you get out of bed
and change your sheets. You

meant to get up when the alarm
went off, but you didn’t, being, as
you were, strangled by the sloppy green
hair of beauty queens. When something

steeps for an eternity. In oceanwater, or
vinegar, or shame, or
regret, no matter

what you wanted its symbolism
to suggest, it’s

the opposite of it. But no one knows
what that means.

Although the scent is on a shelf
in the department store beside
Chanel No. 5. It’s

name is Decomposition. It was
invented in a factory
under Notre Dame, and then
that too caught fire and you woke up—

because you had to—to find the second
hand still dragging itself raggedly
in a circle around the clock’s
undeniable numbers. You

don’t know what it means, although
you feel it so sweetly, and
you can smell it over the charred
tar of some coffee that dripped
(this could have been years ago)
onto the warming plate. You

saw no reason to clean it. Also
something rotten
behind the refrigerator: well, don’t
go looking for trouble. You

know what this means. It will
cling to you all day no matter how
many times you tell yourself it was
all just a dream.

You know. It’s not
the end of the world, but it’s
the end of other things.
Your bouquet of roses: the stems
have grown soft and putrid
in the water you never
changed in the vase. It all

floats with particulates. Slime-
green. Dabbed
on your wrists.
You know why you did it.
And you know you should
regret it, but you’re

not going to bother to find
the word for it. You won’t try
to explain to anyone (since
they can smell it on you and

see it wrapped around your neck.
It’s the best
kind of mistake to make, if

you had to go an say something
stupid in front of everyone. It’s

going to return to you, but never
choke you to death. (You sleep
far too lightly for that.) But

you don’t need a dictionary.
Nor does anyone else. You’ve
become the word’s definition.

Arabesque Trois
/eɹə'besk trwä/
By S.Atticus O.

(n.) a rememory

paced water droplets on a windowpane
Paris never looked so pleasant in rain
lazy little liquid dance troop slides down
defying gravity basking in light
of coming bows down tied in hair
of french girls pocket poses before school
now walk into any hall of a god
most of France questions
and you’ll find the rest
you’ve been seeking best
place to lay your head
to hear words of air
on piano keys Debussy
has little to say countless notes to play
In this, an era of Timeless delight,
you sleep in Claud’s arms

(v.) to rememory

you sit alone in a room
where you first played
with your eldest cousin
and you felt grown
you found peace with age
in a way your parents had not
this room fought the hate
of the world that seeped
in the window came cold
winter on its way, but the fire
that always burned crackly
in the corner keeps you warm
countless years later and here
in the chair your favorite
grandmother died in
you feel her hand in your own
here you take her to dance
and you do and you soon
find yourself dancing
with your Memory

(adj.) having remomory

morning in the city
even if it never sleeps
is still morning
birds that still remain
chirp easy meet
each other in the park
and with a coffee
even with all shut
you bring your own
from home masked
in easy nowhere
to be pleased
by the no more
relentless endless
mindless slog that is
the city take
your first breath in
a year without fear
sip in the cleanest
air you’ve felt here
knowing it will stay
not forever but now
for a moment breathe
sip it in this era
of Suspension.