Etymologies

These help explain why hydrangea is the same 

as milflores, their many blooms exploding 

like a million radiants. Why looking up the root 

of similar makes you remember how, sitting across 

the aisle of a jeepney, you noticed a girl your age 

wearing the same T-shirt with the faces of Ali 

McGraw and Ryan O'Neal stenciled above "Love Story."

You must have been eleven when your parents took you 

to see the movie. Afterwards, everyone in the bathroom 

was still crying. The first time you heard the word leukemia, 

you didn't understand how certain diseases lurk mysteriously 

in the blood. Abnormal accumulation of leucocytes: clear, 

colorless cells, from the proto-Indo-European root leuk- 

meaning light or brightness. On the screen, the lovers 

walk through a wintry park. As they go, she is on the verge 

of falling. Everything is endlessly, frozenly white.

Flakes spill like marrow from a spongy hole in the sky.

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