this tongue

we live
in constant
translation

between the tongue
we learned to love in

and the tongue
that taught us shame

our thoughts form
in a language that is
foreign to our elders

but our mother tongue
is still inside us
and we can coax her out

not for the sake of keeping
tradition alive, but for
the sake of connecting
to those who brought us life

they struggled with
a language that would
forever be as distant from them
as they were from home

so let us stumble over the consonants and vowels
let the syntax confuse us
let our fingers form the letters
however clumsily

the language
is still ours

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