The Inability to Recall the Precise Word for Something

All things are words of some strange tongue

– Jorge Luis Borges

The first person you see after leaving your house
One who always wants to know what’s going on
To make money by any means possible
A surgical sponge accidentally left inside a patient’s body
Given to incessant or idiotic laughter
An incestuous desire for one’s sister
The act of mentally undressing someone
One who speaks or offers opinions on matters beyond their knowledge
A secret meeting of people who are hatching a plot
The act of beating or whipping school children
The categorization of something that is useless or trivial
Belching with the taste of undigested meat
One who is addicted to abusive speech
The use of foul or abusive language to relieve stress or ease pain
The condition of one who is only amorous when the lights are out
To blind by putting a hot copper basin near someone’s eyes
The act of opening a bottle with a sabre
The habit of dropping in at mealtimes
The act of killing every twentieth person
One who eats frogs
The low rumbling of distant thunder
Someone who hates practicing the piano
The practice of writing on one side of the paper
A horse’s attempt to remove its rider
The collective hisses of a disapproving audience
The sensation that someone is mentally undressing you
The act of self-castration
Being likely to make a mistake
One who fakes a smile, as on television
Counting using one’s fingers
The act or attitude of lying down
The smell of rain on dry ground
The space between two windows

from Between Two Windows (Carcanet, 2012), © Oli Hazzard 2012, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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