Tangled and discarded, my torn word
The teenagers have taken up and dressed in it,
Sweated in it, dancing, stretched it to fit an overflow of flesh,
Tore its seams and wore it ragged.

I found it in the dumpster with the other words;
Pronouns and prepositions worn threadbare–
Or cut to ribbons for commercials,
Or verbs stolen by the social workers to be bleached gray and sewn into uniforms.

I pulled out my word from the tangle
And held it up.
It was so ragged, it wouldn’t hold a patch.
My sister is impatient:

“For God’s sake, get another word–
Something bright and easily slipped on and off.
Stop crying over that decrepit adjective
As if there wasn’t a dictionary
Full of others.”

–Joanne Greenberg

One Response to “Retrieval”

  1. Renee says:

    Would love to talk to you about this…. Retrieval
    My take….it isn’t a decrepit adjective, it is a happy/sad word. I would like to retrieve dinners without TV, playing in the streets after dark off Colfax and Ogden when I was little, making up songs with my friends, helping my Nana cook, getting to lick the bowl, riding in a car and marveling at the wonders outside my back seat window without a seat belt. Sad….watching children tremble in fear because they go to school where they may be killed, having strained necks due to always being on the phone texting, having ear drums pop because the music is so loud, words like shit and fuck used in every conversation, being pissed off because her/his parents won’t buy shoes that cost $200 etc. etc… I want to retrieve and teach my grandchildren the good times and turbulent times and how to appreciate the goodness of SIMPLE.

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