Week 4/Day 5. 17 words (a poem)

This is my fifth poem of week four of the online retreat. 

The New York Times crossword puzzle
lives to humiliate me

It starts me out easy
on Monday morning
lulling me into a sense
of complacency

by Friday, I can barely get
a word in cross-wise

My seven-week stretch
of successful Mondays
curries no favor

word after word
crosses me
vexes me

throws me curves
and drops me
into the occasional rebus

Without a word of warning
the double-cross is in

I’d have better luck
filling in the black squares

Still I keep coming back
for cross after cross
word after word after SINCE WHEN IS THAT A WORD?!

A word with the management
would be pointless
even with my reasonably decent vocabulary
I’d be at a lexical disadvantage—
not enough words
or words insufficient to describe
the cross I must bear

Time to retreat
from these words that cross me

I will choose words myself
and put them anywhere I want to
in whatever order I want

I may even make up a few
of my own words

and the editor
of the New York Times crosswords
will not have word one
to say about it

Word

(30 October 2020)


Wishes sometimes have consequences is available to order from your favorite local bookstore.

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