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Heritage Speaker

I try asymptotically to get back to you—

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday
March 1, 2022

Crooked mouth, punctum.
I try asymptotically to get back to you—

Mountain dialect.
Face open to the persimmon tree.

Savory tooth.
Bamboo steamers by the sidewalk.

I wonder when it began—
the tiny fissure that formed,
the grammatical fault line,
Warring States of my mind.

When I shed a language,
shed myself bare,
I flashed—
silver leaves in the heat wave,
mid-air mirage,
never touching ground.

And later,
when I tried to speak,
and tried to speak,
and spoke—
a vague turn of tongue,
disembodied syllables

—and frenetically doffed and donned
vernacular like a sequined bodice,
and dazzled and chafed and chafed.