i try to write in the language I was named in, but the keyboard is too strange, and the pen is out of ink. the words denature in my mouth, and i cannot make them out.
my father’s shadow falls over the page. i remember how this language tastes when it falls from his lips, in droplets on the floor-- like sugar cookies and like home.
i try to channel my grandmother’s tongue, but its strength and vigor overwhelms the page-- the poem shrinks away with its tail between its legs, afraid of her walking stick.
it never returns to the page. after a while, i stop chasing it.
my heart is played by a mariachi band. the guitar needs tuning, and the accordion screeches, the trumpeter has one arm, and he cries in the middle of the love songs. the music limps, it stumbles, it falls flat onto its face. you stand up and applaud.