nnn .
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Just say no

[ME, fr. OE na, fr. ne not + a always;
akin to ON & OHG ne not, L ne-, Gk ne-]

This word got it right early.
It’s hung around for the better part
of the second millennium
and here’s all that happened to it:
after a few blind dates
the persistent consonant
snagged the perfect vowel.
It’s the romance of opposites;
spare, angular N yearns
for the fulsome O, who thrills
to her edgy suitor.

Their union conveys such blunt clarity
that the word has its own
rhetorical question: What part
don’t you understand?

It’s a linguistic kickboxing
white-faced hornet.
It’s the front of the bus,
picket line, First Amendment,
two men holding hands in public,
the battered woman who seeks shelter.

It’s the first word we learn:
the name of the cat,
the electrical socket, the vodka.
It’s the perfect response to succotash,
harpsichord lessons, thudding
perfervid advances of knuckle-draggers,
repetitive sniveling pleas
for just one more chance.
It’s how revolution begins.

all rights reserved Josephine Bridges ©2012-2013