Notaléymé. Every so often, a word like this will introduce itself to me and ask to be written down. I usually comply, though not always. Sometimes I just say hello and smile. If the new word persists, we enter into a conversation which might go on for a minute or an hour. Some of our talks are musical and sound like old men humming at a mossy table in a park; others move forward laugh by laugh, as if we were two children imitating the cadences of a rocky stream:

Notaléymé pardumé buascal,
Mi ni mool, pahnda si doshool

Or the word might be expressed as a question: Notaléymé? in which event I might spend an entire morning trying to find an answer. Sometimes the answer becomes a poem, sometimes a brightly crumpled piece of paper.

Notaléymé would make a lovely name.

Notaléymé is a little girl who lives forever. She is very kind, and moves like a spirit from heart to heart. Notaléymé is the sparkle in the eyes of a young bride, the wisdom in the gaze of an old woman. She is an apparition in the night, at once wounding and strengthening the hearts of men.

Notaléymé, nah nah sélumé,
Why are you alone in this misty hour?

January 31, 2006

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