The Word for When

(After The Meaning of Tingo by Adam Jacot de Boinod)

A single word
in Inuit
describes the way
I pace my porch,
hoping you’ll be back
my way for a little tryst:

*iktsuarpok*

And there’s a word
on Easter Island
for a man who takes
your things

one
by

one

till you are left
with nothing.
That word is

     *tingo*

I’m afraid
I’ve learned
a  word explaining
all the ways
my actions
seem to make
what’s bad
much worse:

*neko-neko*

In deepest Congo
there’s a word
for one who
forgives twice

        but then no more:

*ilunga*

My favorite word
in Danish
is for gates
that open once

        then shut forever.

This signals panic
as all your chances are
used up.

    *Torschlusspanik*

What are some words,
you ask, for cooling love,
or loving the last time?

    *aki ga tatsu* (in Japanese)
    *onsia* (for the Boro)

In the language of the Turks
there is a word for heart:

    *berhane*

for what is heart, but a rickety,
rambling house,

        a mansion too large
            for one soul
                to keep up?

***
Denise M. Rogers received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She later joined the faculty at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in the fall of 1996. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in such journals as Alaska Quarterly Review, Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review, Mid-America Poetry Review, Ekphrasis, WordRiver, and Louisiana Literature. In 2002 she was the recipient of an Artist’s Fellowship from the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Her first collection of poems, The Scholar’s Daughter, was published in 2008 by Louisiana Literature.

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