Elizabeth Le: Out of many, one

Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 9:06pm

.

Illustration by Roseanne Chao

 

I contemplate

an early exit

in sparkly,

silver

shoes.

Heart over head

and hand over heart –

I look

so American.

And you,

standing

across the way,

are small

with humility.

Your callused fingers,

bathed

in sunlight and industry,

touch me

with a softness

I can never return.

 

Bless fragility.

Its anxious self

quaking

behind the ego.  

The quiver,

the tremble

cracking open my lips.

A fault

from which

the gargled vowels erupt.

Words spill out

over all

the pretty

conventions,

then settle,

holding us

here

in this moment

where we are briefly

familiar.

 

You,

my mother,

who keeps

the crow’s feet

to remind her

of flight,

whose freckles

punctuate

the summer sky,

who knows

more tones

than the pianist,

speak

with bars

between your teeth.

Songs

of mangrove trees

and lotus ponds.

Yes,

bless the summer.

 

And I,

your incomprehensible

child,

tongue-twisted

and teary-eyed,

have only

broken language

to offer.

But bless this language,

its ebb and flow.

How it shrinks

from the mouth

to grow

in the ear,

unapologetically

incomplete,

slicing,

dicing,

clipping

the old

ends off,

pushing,

pulling,

perverting,  

the speech

into something

wholly

new.

May its sound

always evolve

but its color

stain

forever.

 

Bless it despite its ugliness.

 

Bless it

anyway.