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POETRY

Paul Jerusalem

Tongue Twister

"We look at the world once, in childhood.
The rest is memory." 
—Louise Glück

My ancestors’ language is a tongue 
twister, too many consonants gnawed  
from the back of the jaw, vowels flung

 

from the nose, demanding a fraud 
of more openness and clarity than I 
can muster. Sometimes I wake up, awed 

that I had spoken my language fluently, my 
tongue no longer stiff. In every dream, 
I look at the world I left once, to untie 

my throat, finding myself back in the stream 
that led to a home I knew as another 
childhood, before it would unseam itself 

to fit into another childhood, only memory, 
my leg, jerking me back to reality, stuttering. 

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