It's Difficult

By: Anonymous

It’s difficult,

The business of learning a new language.

Words slip away from you like a skittish bird

But you grasp for them

And try to give them some meaning.

It’s difficult

Age four, first day of school,

Not comprehending a sentence your teacher says,

Bitter at Mom and Dad

For giving you the wrong words to say back.

It’s difficult when they tell you,

“It’s time you learn English,”

So you leave what you know 

And learn to talk like the others

And suddenly,

It all feels a lot easier

It’s difficult

Traveling twenty-two hours

To a place of palm trees and rivers,

Of bonfires and jasmine and your grandma’s cooking,

To a lush Eden full of faces that look like your own

Only to find that the faces can no longer understand a word out of your mouth.

It’s difficult

When they greet you, “Namaskaram”

And laugh as you try to form your mouth back around the lost syllables

Then turn their noses up at “the whitewashed girl”

And you feel as lonely as you did at four years old.

It’s difficult 

Realizing that the words of your ancestors,

The words that your parents have claimed as theirs,

And the words you have lost 

Are no longer your own.