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Perry S. Nicholas

Greeks Have a Word for It

Greeks have the perfect word,
savoura, or anchor, to describe
the way some people try to wrap
their problems around you,

pull you down into the eddies
of their insecurities. They can’t
seem to stay afloat, so they entice
you overboard with their guilt.

Today I feel bogged down by people.
No one in this coffee shop notices,
though I’m sure it’s written all over my face.
Hiding behind the lip of this too-hot coffee,
my eyes mist, pencil pushing away the burdens.

Liquids can be heavier than solids –
I learned about it in Mrs. Stuart’s second
grade class. I remember the concept
from when I was an unfettered boy,

alone in the back of her science class,
playing with Greek prefixes out of boredom,
never really aware a word might encompass
both the object on a boat and the tug
of human troubles on one’s shoulders.

Liquids assume the shape of their containers.
But even if you only want to flow along
unnoticed, water can squeeze you so tight
the pressure makes your ears pop.