Allora (Italian) : A filler word most of the time (well, so, then, in that case, at that time)

His mouth had moved, and I watched every muscle make the motion to open and close, but the words that sprang forth was nothing but empty space.


He smiled thinking I could hear his words, and so I smiled to help him think that I heard his words. Our smiles filled the room, the only other noise, the clock. The clock ticked slowly, filling my mind, and eventually, I smiled for the clock, and he smiled back, thinking I was smiling for him, for the words I couldn’t hear.

And he talked again, his mouth making the motions to speak, but the words clasped into his lap, leaving the air between us to find the lull in the clock, ticking away. The way his eyes blinked matched with the ticking, until his face became the clock, his eyes the hands, the numbers his skin, the white blending perfectly.

He opened his mouth again, the words spilling out appearing in my ears as nothing but wind, the ticking continued. We sat like this for as long as the clock kept ticking. He stared back, watching my eyes as I watched his, trying to find his words hidden within. The sun cut through the glass of the window surrounding our room, grazing my face in a warm balm, wrapping around towards my ears. The dust in the room settled against our eyes, our lashes protecting our retinas, his lashes slowly ticking away. I tried to find a word in my mind that would escape my mouth and enter his ears.  I tried to find a word to fill the space.

I opened my mouth, and spoke.



Resol (Spanish): The reflection of the sun off of a surface or the glare of the sun.

I’m pretty sure I blacked out from drinking last night. My head’s spinning, I can barely stand. I reach around in the dark of the room, trying to find a ledge. The only thing I find is more empty bottles. I’m not sure how my hands grasped those bottles, but I did anyway. Don’t need them if they’re empty though. Waste of my time. Damn. I can see colors. Like blinking colors. Too many. Out of the way. Okay, I’m good now. I think. Found the wall. This room is too damn dark. The curtains are killing me. Where did everyone go? I thought I was at a party. Drinking till my lights are out. Oh. That’s right. I wasn’t invited. So I drank myself to sleep. Was that it? Or did everyone just leave? I mean, I have way too many empty bottles here if it was just me. I don’t even recognize the room. Too damn dark. I reach my hand out, trying to find the light switch that I think is on the other side.


Landing head first into a wall is no fun. My insides want to escape. That’s not a good sign, is it? No, it’s not. I try to hold myself together, walking to the curtains. I trip on a bottle, it rolls over to the carpet. Face first into the floor is no fun either. I roll over on my back, staring at the ceiling. Too many damn stars. I close my eyes, and listen to my breath. The draft catches me awake. The window’s are open. Sheesh. I open my eyes to see the slight of light hitting the doorframe of the kitchen. I crawl my way up. The window was cracked open, bleeding sunlight. It dripped onto another glass bottle. This one still had some booze. Jackpot.


Uitwaaien (Dutch): Going out for a walk or to the countryside in order to clear one’s mind.

My mind is filled with clutter. Last week, last month, last year. He said, she said. Blue, grey, green. Coffee, burnt eggs, scrambled. Blinking bulb above my head, can’t fall asleep. Where do I go? The winds are howling across my windowpane. Nowhere else in my apartment can fill the empty void I want. My thoughts follow me like a spoiled shadow. Breaking into my house, the winds find the top of my hand. Breaking and entering. I try to call the cops but remember it’s just the wind.  Last week, last month, last year, I had said something that I couldn’t take back. I wonder what that is. Searching through the crevices of lunch, I found a bagel I made last week. Wouldn’t hurt to eat. Threw up in the washroom. The wind taps at my window. The moon is calling somewhere. I can’t get up. I won’t be able to sleep. I close my eyes for dinner. Burnt pasta. It’s only burnt because I thought having burnt eggs weren’t enough for the day. No. It’s because I can’t cook. While I had the heat on I tried to remember what I said that day. Nothing came. Nothing will. Half an hour of staring at the ceiling and I think I’ll die of sleep deprivation. I get up, slap on a coat, and leave my home. The wind is the first to hit me. Of course. Followed by the moon and stars. Thousands of those blinking lights. I begin to walk.

I remember now.


Tsundoku (Japanese): The act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.

Mountains of worlds left asunder, collecting dust from their master’s departed skin, grazing their fur with the gentle caress of a child, barely opening their spines. The first of their kind to be forgotten was an action novel, guns blazing protagonist, cheap one liners, and an expiration date of a day. No one was left blazing with that kept at the bottom of the mountain.

The second of their kind to be forgotten was a science fiction novel, about a man stranded on Mars, landed on old vestiges by accident and understood as long dead, he struggles on the deserts of the unclaimed, his last stand. Turned into a movie, thought he’d read the book, but now it was compiled against pages and pages of other such defiled intentions.

Such was even the case with his textbooks that he bought with the implication of reading them for class. Buried under layers of fiction, fact is crushed under the fantastical worlds that he had never laid eyes on. As day grows, that pile only heightens, his own mind knowing no bounds in its interest, but never reaching what it wants.


Listopad(Russian): The falling of the leaves.

Gently towards the Earth, they come in waves as the year rounds to a close. In droves they litter the streets, colored the rising sun, dried with bristle veins, crunched under the feet of the world.

Their owners, stripped of their clothes, wither away till they can find a new cloak. Their companions wither in another realm, unable to caress the shriveled bones of their owners.

Some find their way to the confines of a warm abode planted between the processed skin of their owners. They retain their musk, their color, their form as they rot away on the shelves of those with better ways to pass the time.

They stay only for a fortnight as the cold winds draft their memories into another day.


Duende (Spanish): The mysterious power that a work of art can have over a person.

In a swirl at the moon;  with the twirls of a skirt, you swung with the trills of the notes that floated on lit candles and whitened drapes flowing in chords. In a crescendo at the base of a mountain; with the snowy blanket falling over our heads as you hummed in bursts of four beats drinking red wine and overcooked steak. That was my mistake. In a forte at the eye of the storm; with the sharpened winds draping your arms in light brushes, tiny pricks lifting your hairs, your eyes nearly falling into black. The song ends and we’re sitting at our tables, drinking red wine with food that no one would die for. The next song comes on, we’re back at the moon.


Litost (Czech): A feeling that synthesizes grief, sympathy, remorse and longing.

I saw her crying that night when her father died. She wouldn’t answer me. My touch faded into her space. My words fell flat onto her ears. Her eyes were a distant red. My step-sister would never come to forget him, and I barely knew him. I was hardly in the world when I was born. I was hardly in the world when everything around me seemed to change. I was hardly in the world when those that I should have sought close to me were further than the stars. My step-sister came into my life soon after. I met her first at the train station waiting for the 104 to come. Her smile beamed throughout the dim light of the afternoon station. She greeted me with all she had. Her bright hair flung behind her in her playful gait. Her warmth found me. Not long after my mother remarried, my father had died again. Pangs of daggers came onto me from every moment of living. But seeing my sister be so distraught, seeing her smile turn into contortions made me want to hold her. To lend her my warmth, the same warmth she lent me. I never knew my father, or my step-father, but I have an obligation now to be someone who can protect my family. I wish I knew my father, or my step-father, so I could at least have some way of knowing how I can do that.


Saudade (Portuguese): Melancholic longing or nostalgia for a person, place or thing far away.

My hands dip into the water as you float further from my finger tips frizzling in the short aftertaste of rain as it glides off the tip of my tongue, you find yourself waddling in short waves that emanate from the origin of my touch, and you graze the corner of the ocean with your short reach finding yourself in its embrace before I jump in after you, but you only continue to float further and further from my grasp that you seem to be a year away and that every step I take you retract five more years away until finally we’re at the end of our lives and it’s the world on fire and we’re finally within reach of our futile lives and yet you still retract and turn your head away looking into the sunset blaze of seven billion lives and you tell me that I’ll never be where you are again.