At a Loss for Words
He came to the city,
Esu Ketema me – t' -a.
My father’s fricative edges, simple cubes
and cones coarse and emphatic in the mouth.
But we became strangers, cooling
like stars in their diaspora.
I translated these words:
to dignity and rights' matter in
from birth freedom and equality
acquired is. Them to reason
acquired is and always them
to brotherhood's spirit... .
But what does this mean
to strangers who speak from vulgar Latin,
who bow to Slavonic borrowing, freeze
in Orthodox corners?
in the mountains— Alouette,
hidden for ages with potatoes and onions,
they change with a curl of the lip,
a softness of palate. I remember the woman,
face to face on the train, our fingers touched
across the table. Koncha madhu patrakke haki
(having poured a little wine into the cup
separately.) I came fast forward,
she rode backwards just as quickly, finishing
her drink, falling through words.
By the book of The Red House,
I’m carried in travel,
forwards and backwards, my father,
transforming the stone on my tongue.