Retrieval

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

Books

Jubilee Year 2019
All I’ve Done for You
2016
Miri Who Charms
2009
Appearances 2006
In This Sign
1970
I never Promised You a Rose Garden
1964