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[Poem-a-Week] I. [English is a language...] by Lola Olvera
English is a language that my mother will never understand — has chosen never to understand — because Español is the only piece of colored thread left to remind her of where she’s from Her children, however, have chosen this country, severing their umbilical cords one by one and by starting to stumble over the Spanish syntax, effectively cauterizing the last remaining veins shut My mother always wanted children, warm bodies and hands to hold to make up for all the people she had been forced to leave in México, swapmeet toys and sticky laughter to ease the tension of the small empty apartment and her silent husband Children to have someone to talk to in the language my mother understands Children to teach things to in a country, with a husband, that told her she knew nothing, had nothing, valuable to give Marriage would take her country, the border would take her family, depression would take her husband, but nobody could take her body and its stubbornness, in the face of weariness, to make something out of nothing I write in the language I understand — have chosen to understand — wishing I had kept enough words in Español to tell my mother: I realize now you gave us all you had
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