|how i know|
the thing about my mother, is,
no words belong to her. there isn't a language
people speak with their mouths
that she can think in.
(sometimes it's hard for me to imagine. i love words, the way they look, the way they sound, the way they feel around my tongue. hard for me to imagine.)
i remember her telling me
voice low, strained, dangerous
that she couldn't speak chinese. she left home
too early, too soon,
forgot the language. but i think she forgot language too.
she said she couldn't remember words,
remember the way people would say things normally
i didn't believe this until i heard it from my relatives.
they said she spoke strange. her words confused them.
i already knew she didn't know english.
chopped words without meaning,
i invented meaning for her
i wrote her letters for her
letters to lawyers, teachers, employers, STUPID AMERICANS
with my perfect high IQ score english
(i am so sorry, i am so sorry, i am so sorry),
the only words i am hearing in my head
i must have forgotten language too, those words didn't feel like anything! at all
didn't feel like how this heart is hurting with sorry
i can't say, can't say
but now are you seeing? how it is, between my mother and i
all i have are words, i can only use these to tell
(but do you know, i am loving people so much it aches
because i am unable to use the words i want to,
everyone is so far away)
yet with her it is aching because words don't mean things,
they are only noise
mouth open and close, only empty inside.
(even her names,
yvette something french or black or both
conroy that american man hahehehAHH AHH
it always bothered me thinking about how when she dies
this is what will be written
sometimes i'll do something, anything,
and then she knows.
someday i'll figure out what it is i did that told her
until then i keep hoping i'll do the right thing
by chance, fate, luck, God's will?
or hoping she knows regardless of if i tell her
the right way
but you know, you know what it is i'm thinking,
maybe this is why she never says she loves me;
instead. she tells me with her hands.
(comment on this poem)