How to Find Deceptive Cognates

1

September 14, 2010 by The Citron Review

by Diane Kendig

You will at first adopt them all, thinking them related.
(You might take grifo for “grief,”
as I once took it from my hostess, wringing
her hands over a sink, sighing, qué grifo!
Later, I insisted to my host,
“I don’t want to be any faucet for you.”)

Now, you can memorize lists of changelings
and avoid asking pharmacists for soup
or confessing pregnancy when you mean
embarrassment, but new ones are born
faster than “most wanted” posters. So:
study your listener’s face.

If it is the face of a man confronted by
a woman who thinks she’s a faucet, or say,
of a woman whose new love, shaving off
his beard, suddenly looks enough like
her first boyfriend to be his brother, you
have found another deceptive cognate.

 

 

Diane Kendig’s recent chapbook is titled, The Places We Find Ourselves. Her poetry and nonfiction work may also be found in J Journal, Minnesota Review, qarrtsiluni, and others. A recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry and a Fulbright lectureship in translation, Diane is a Midwesterner currently out of place in the Boston area where she teaches at Bentley University.

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One thought on “How to Find Deceptive Cognates

  1. Claire Keyes says:

    Diane—what a delightful poem. I love the wit.

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