For Pascaline


Because every language was planted by a god
who thought to himself
that no garden would be lush
if every flower were identical,
I remember the burden
of carrying four tongues in my mouth.
But I swear there could be more.
I mean to say
that the flowers of my garden are
waiting for their bees.

I mean to say
that there is a cavity inside of my chest—
it’s why I cannot welcome you in,
It’s also why I find it hard to tell you
about this language of fire:
how every word crackles
in my throat, in my dreams,
till an i-love-you is forged from their ashes
& addresses itself to an ex-lover who has no use for it.

The other language holds the memory of songs;
it recalls every lover mine who lost themselves
in the musicality of my voice
but left after the orchestra played the last note.
There is a boy fitting himself into a poem tonight.
I am all smokestacks.
Flowers clutter my throat.
Call it fullness, call it content
but I know too well why
I mispronounce the word “whole” as “hole”;
it is that sometimes when I am faced with choosing
between translating my feelings into lines & verses
& recognizing the love that dares me to dance—
I always find myself sidelining with the former.

What I mean to say is that I need someone again,
but I can’t be found needing.




Photo by Jen Theodore on Unsplash