Speech Therapy by Rakhshan Rizwan

Posted: October 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

Put your language in my mouth like a cold strawberry—
not a scythe;
Put your language in my mouth like crème brulee
or a decadent macaroon,

put your language in my mouth,
like parsley, not hemlock,

put your language in my mouth the way my mother did,
serve it with milk and warm skin, not the way undertakers
inter carrion in the earth,

put your language in my mouth,
a scented letter in a gold-rimmed envelope,
or last season’s roses pressed within the leaves,
of a poetry book,

not like disinfectant meant to remove contaminants,
from a crime scene,

I wish you had placed your language in my mouth
like a velvet glove, but instead you pour
burning asphalt onto my tongue, pave bitumen
and rock and flatness where there is none,

Learn German, you say, integrate,

I feel the reverberations of your language,
like a line of freight trains ploughing my mind,

You prescribe your language to me like anti-depressants,
to be consumed thrice a day.
____________________________
Rakhshan Rizwan was born in Lahore, Pakistan and is currently a PhD candidate at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her poems have appeared in Papercuts, Cerebration, Muse India, The Missing Slate, Postcolonial Text and elsewhere. She is the winner of the Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize.

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