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.