their lips would pucker up into sneers
as my tongue battled with my
syllables burrowed into tastebuds, got
tangled up in my tongue, tied it
in knots. i hated it ; it felt useless.
a wad of fat muscle, flapping pathetically
like the scaly tail of a dead fish
words burned holes into my cheeks,
as if i was swallowing mouthfuls of coal
embers. i carved letters into the ivory
of my teeth. no good. stitched syntax
into my skin. no good. each one was a booby
trap. a grenade.
and blew up,
sent blood rushing to my face.
shame wiped my mind blank. i choked on
sentences, my windpipe clogged by pages
of my textbook. tissues of my throat broke
out in hives. every cell swelling and
this language is foreign this language is a poison an allergen an infection a disease i wanted to rinse my mouth
with acid until
there was no more malayalam left in me.
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