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Showing posts from January 1, 2012

Leaving English by Julia Alvarez

Before leaving English, I cling to words
I haven't paid attention to in years:
dirndl, and trill and sin, until the thought
of spending weeks without them is  too sad
to think about.  Come with me,I invite
my monolingual husband,so at night
you can whisper sweet nothings in my ears
against possesion by my native tongue.
Even if Spanish made me who I was
it's English now that tells me who I am.

You talk like an addict, my husband scolds.
Language is not a drug!(But I get high
working a line until I get it right,
like finding the last piece or bulb
that lights up the whole string of Christmas lights!)
My family claims I have deserted them:
One thing is learning English, another,
to think you're lost without it,por favor!
You left in exile---that was not your fault.
This passion is a second desertion.
Before leaving, I touch the shelves of books,
then close my study door reluctantly
like a child casting a longing glance
at bedtimeat her bears and dressed up dolls
posed to enact s…