Words I Often Get Mixed Up
by Jenna Le

Bento: a lunchbox coated in resin secreted by an insect whose blood is sometimes also used to make a red dye.
Beento: someone who has studied abroad in England; at times, someone who bought a winter coat for this reason.

Awhato: a caterpillar that has been killed and mummified by a parasite, after which the parasite’s spore-producing organ juts out of the caterpillar’s neck, like a flag of conquest, and which is dried and burned to make a black dye.
Annatto: an orange dye made from the seeds of a tropical tree.

Toheroa: a long-tongued clam once exploited to make a green soup and now protected by law.
Hetaera: a woman in ancient Greece prized for her long tongue; her hair dye may be red, orange, or black; her praises are sung at symposia where her bared legs are bitten by drunks and insects until blood beads the skin.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 19, Issue 4.

Jenna LeJenna Le, a daughter of Vietnamese refugees, is the author of two full-length poetry collections, Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011) and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Anchor & Plume, 2016). Her poetry has appeared in AGNI Online, The Best of the Raintown Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, and Massachusetts Review. Her website is jennalewriting.com.

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