‘Lost’ First Languages Leave Permanent Mark on the Brain, New Study Reveals
To experience the world muffled
through the wall of skin
is like wearing earmuffs
while deep sea diving.
Cacophony of whalesong
and sunken earthquakes,
tonal pitches seep in.
How do I translate
the sound of my mother’s
moaning? It’s a soft wail
I hang on the wall
of my windpipe.
They say the circulatory system
is the first to develop
in an embryo.
That the body generates cells
to divide and multiply, to form
a swelling ball.
That your blood weaved and whirled
to become my blood.
Who was the first you told?
At week eleven, fingernails begin to appear.
I bet you didn’t know that nails
are made of dead blood cells.
How something could grow inside you
that’s both alive and dead.
Once I learned how to talk, I did not
stop. I drew blood and licked my teeth
with language, English spilling down my chin.
Later, I learned how words can wound
without touching, and I tucked myself
in a bed of silence.
Mother of Rock
The familiar clack of shoes against tile, click
of the key in the lock. Wait and rock.
Your gaze silent and grim, I long for the touch
that doesn’t come. My tongue caught
on my mouth’s cage
tart with sour milk.
In the picture from your wedding,
a white lace dress. As if held
down by the weight of fancy fabric,
your bones ache to float off the edges
of the frame. Mother of stone,
teach me the temperature
of tomb. Watch me chase my tail.
Toss me a cloth, a bottle of milk.
We tend to our roles like we tend to a fire,
poking the coals with the blazing tip of an iron.
The head of a woman occasionally produces more heads.
The body of a woman is the source of all our breaths.
See Also: The naming of riverbanks.
See Also: Nature’s tendency to cleave.
There is a difference between the qualities
we inherit and the qualities of instinct.
The brain with its many folds looks like it’s squeezing itself.
Its mouths are puckered and waiting to be unlocked with a kiss.
An organ of the body is regarded as the source
of nourishment for the next corresponding organ.
How we feed on each other for ourselves.
How we keep ourselves alive through each other.
You are the living tissue beneath the bark of a cork oak.
You are a ship grained with the grooves of trees.