John A. Williams


What does that word mean, again?
I looked it up the other day.      I’ve got it.
It’s that kingdom I read about, just northeast
of Anatolia, visited by Nestorian monks
in the early fourteenth century before the Mongols
conquered it. Aphasia’s largely forgotten now,
only specialists know about it. That was it, I think.

Or maybe not, I’m struggling with this.
A flower, of course, one of those compositae,
second cousin to the daisy. Nice colors,
you used to see it in the Burpee’s catalog,
years ago; wait, it may be the botanical term
for forget-me-not. Linnaeus could have named it
aphasia, an easy name people wouldn’t forget.

Or could it be the little crawl spaces under
the floor in old British country houses, often
called oubliettes? I have a dim recollection that
Aphasia may be a synonym for oubliette.    Yes,
I think so.    But my confidence keeps wavering,
I’m still not sure. I need to look it up. Let’s see,
Where’s my, my … what? My word finder, yes.                

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