By Thomas Page

The Untranslatable

This is a series of poems of words that do not directly translate into English. I have tried to capture the essence of the word in a poem.


My father bought us one of those fitness-watches—

The ones with the app—

To ensure that we would be walking every day we were waking.

Prior to this

He had been waltzing around the neighborhood with the watch bought by his own father and mother

Like the kid with the light-up shoes

Showing everyone his new gadget and all of its bells.

The goal, by default, was


Which I could never do on a normal day

Or even a special day

Due to the amount of time I am in the car

And on the computer

So I set it to a moderate goal:


Even with expectations set to t.v. movie levels,

I still did a Stephen-King-adaptation performance

With the excess of cheese in my system

And contrived connections between events.

“Maybe if I walk in a jaunty way I will get more steps.”

“Maybe if I walk 2 feet to the left I will get more steps.”

When the night comes and he asks “How many?”

I will have to say 6,000 on a good day

And even 1,500 on a bad day.

I work hard

(I think)

And I try

(I think)

To be ambulatory as much as I can

But at least I don’t have to eat liver.


Language of Origin: Finnish





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