The Word of the Day


The word is nictitate, three syllables, new

and the meaning unexpected: to wink.  Stars wink.

Sun on rippled water and fireflies at twilight

looking for signals from fellow travelers

or happy solo in flight wink. The word asks

if anything inside me nictitates.


I take stock; moments pass, pulse tih-ticks,

swallowing makes a squeak of saliva muscled down

or ideas.  And mistakes, sins, the thrown spoon

and cracked glass, the betrayed friend

wanting understanding, some small touch

at the nape of his neck.  I know rage, the flash,

quiver, dazzle, and empty dusk. A house

with sockets but no bulbs.


I know the word knows my veins and chambers,

identifies his sagged expression among

neural byways, thoughts firing, sputtered bursts.

His face.  Flickers.  His heart, heartbeat reverberating

bones in my back.  Silence.



  1. Oooh. Good one. I know the word from zoology. A nictitating membrane – the third eyelid of some animals. See through. Protection for birds, sharks, reptiles. I think you have instinctively captured this word’s complete essence!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s