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Pat Colville - The Sleekit wee Word

The Sleekit wee Word  

The one that almost got away. That word.
Where’s it gone? You know the word.
What’s it called? I can’t remember,
but give me a minute or maybe a day.
and I’ll have it. You know the thingamajig.

The thingamajig is making my thumb stound.
or throb as my mother would have me say.
Did my father call it a skelp? No that’s a smack,
and I had a few of them. It’s a skelf said Granny.
and swiftly removed it from my thumb.
Dinnae greet noo, that wisnae sair,” she said.

Sair, stoundin, skelp, or skelf, those lost Scots words
 I hoped might lead me to my thingamajig, the sleekit
wee word that doesn’t want to be found. I sleep and
the silent search continues in the imagined indices.
below the smooth sulci of my brain.

Half awake,  I hear, the pervasive, powerful voice of my long 
 dead mother. She says “don’t say sleekit dear, and 
  its not a skelf it’s a splinter.

Patricia Colville May 2023

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