I start with a local paper 

at my housebound neighbor’s kitchen table. 

Universal, not the New York Times.

I read a clue out loud. I look at her. She shrugs back. 

I read another. C + 4-Down?  We both shrug. 

Maybe I say you have to know the language. 

We both laugh. I tell her news about my albino robin, 

Harmony. It’s a distraction. I look down but he doesn’t fit 

any clue. Smell or sight. This one I know, and it fits. 

Hum, all this time and only one 5 letter word filled in. 

Maybe if I read the answer key on the next page 

when I can’t get one? If I do this often enough

will I catch on? We both laugh. Hum.