I dance on foreign ground
always teasing out
the unfamiliar with my toe,
moving town to town
selling snake oil from the back
of a painted wagon.
At night the moon comes up,
full and wagging light,
a silver dollar for me to follow
making that empty shell of a promise again:
This time, I will bring you home.
I spoke you first.
You, with your guttural clacking
Ich being Deutch
You must stick the word in your throat,
hawk it up.
Your words are lullabies,
the fairy tales that clicked in my ear.
I was breast fed on them.
I held them in the gully of my mouth.
I write in a different language now,
write in impossibly lengthy words garnered from a collegiate dictionary
I have forsaken you
Left you for dead like the Latin I learned
in the eighth grade.
I can't remember how to say your name
Can't remember how to say I love you.
The bridge I crossed to the schoolyard
was old brick and asphalt suspended
over a highway.
Every morning, I pledged allegiance
to a nation and a strange new language
I stood with my hand over my heart,
sang God Bless America
as though it were the land of my birth.
At home, Mutti cooked apples and potatoes,
Himmel und Erde,
Heaven and Earth.
Old songs rose from her throat
as she remembered Oma's kitchen,
She would have built bridges over oceans
for the embrace of Oma's arms.