“The Word with the Schwa that’s Really a Short U” By Ronnie Sirmans



My new friend’s from Boise,
and I remember: as a boy
reading the word and mis-
pronouncing it as “Boys.”  
Some words seem to say
themselves to us. Like love.  
Has anyone moved lips
and tongue with a long o
to whisper to their true “loave”?  
Instincts may shape the syllable,
from inaudible caul, borne by
fluid breath like spoken words.
The pronunciation, its middle is u,
but not mouthed as “you,” but rather
the sound of our uncertainty, “uh”
— announcing our confusion over
how to grasp the word’s meanings,
a rainbowed fish still in the currents,
that we can’t catch with our bare hands
but need strong jaws like the bear
or a hook that snags the mouth
and lips, causing a bloody wound.


About the Author: Ronnie Sirmans is a digital editor for a print newspaper in Atlanta, and his poems have appeared in Gargoyle, The South Carolina Review, Tar River Poetry, BlazeVOX, The American Journal of Poetry, Deep South Magazine, and elsewhere.


More By Ronnie Sirmans:

“Remembering the Great Flood in the Frozen Food Aisle”


Image Credit: “Studio Portrait of a Man Posed with Fishing Gear / The Fisherman” Artist Unknown.  Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s