This stubborn muscle in my mouth does not flick, twist, stretch long enough to reach you in a tongue that could save us from misunderstanding.
Though it should, for it could have, were it not for Denial with capital D, were it not for the violence inflicted on our bones, fractured from the weight of collective memory.
At night, I wake. drenched in the dogged scent of disappointment, loss. My ancestors call out to me in sounds I cannot recall. The murmurs of Mem û Zîn ring hollow in my ears. What has been passed down? What other than a grief for things unknown, songs, things unknowable, things that cannot be forgotten?
Language was torn out of my mouth long before my Daya taught me how to go from babble to speech. Long before scripts inscribed divisions on us. Long before our paths diverged.
For the last hundred years, you’ve written from left to right, and I first learned how to think from right to left. Then, when my breasts swelled in foreign lands and I had to accept the reversal as fact, it was too late.
I have to translate to reach you. This is how it went:
My thoughts slowly evaporated. Distilled. Spread into fragments. Poured out in another form. I lost all fluency. Words have not yet returned as rain or even salt water or tears to help blossom these visions of homeland…
Nowadays, I attempt to relearn you. In poems. In prayer. In desperation. But I’m a seed that cannot germinate. Soils of exile, however moist, however fertile leave me clenched, tight as a bud, a fist rocking in fetal position.
So I live in between, in this vast space of neither here, nor there, neither present, nor absent, neither living nor dead.
I am old. Still teething. My Mother Tongue a wisdom tooth that has grown into my gums, bleeding.
They cracked my skull with pliers, extracting you. I lick the vacuum. Where are my teeth? I seek your taste, there is metal, shard, there is mercury, there is shrapnel.
They tore you out of me long before minefields kept us from each other. Our histories intertwined, washed in blood. We are tiny markers on a map so laden with devastation that valleys, rivers, meadows go unsketched.
One day, when aliens from far away galaxies come to our land, they will mark the location of our birth by the colors of betrayal, Deep violet, Blue, Red, Yellow, Green, now Black. Though our grandmothers only wore white to funerals. How did we come to this?
In my dreams you ask for saving from the boats that set sail for safety. I cannot understand you. I hear you, wailing. These hands do not elongate, long enough to take you Home. Where is that anyway?
My Mother Tongue has not teethed. So I keep gnawing, I gnaw at rubbery life jackets that do not keep us afloat