Like a benediction, we grow into a smaller language. So many words given up, disremembered, abandoned from tents & saw packs. What use here in the Middle Santiam Wilderness do we have for the word sink? When would we ever utter closet or phone or bank account? These words as unneeded as any third thumb, as unneeded as money or wallet or credit card. Girlfriend becomes little more than a weekend ghost. I give to you TV. I give to you movie theatre. I give to you radio. Do you want more words that these backwoods winds strip away? Take traffic jam. Take fuel pump. Take the 9-to-5. God, take commuting & pavement. Take asphalt & concrete. Take, please, we beg of you, microwave. Take power lines. Take nightly news. We give them all away.
Those words, they ache our new memories.
SEAN PRENTISS lives on a lake in northern Vermont and serves as a professor at Norwich University. He is the co-editor of The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre, an anthology that delves into the questions surrounding creative nonfiction. To read more of Sean’s poetry, creative essays, and poems, please visit his website.