words of a different tongue

When I was
still budding,
all chubby cheeks and
four-foot-four,
my father fed me
stories like honey,
pressed characters into
my ears
leaving them ringing.
they lingered long after
in the nooks and
crannies

waiting.

someday
i will be a mother
birthing words and
nursing them to epics.
they will rush
from my mouth
reminiscent of tales
told by my mother,
her mother, all the
mothers before them.
and by then,
i will have lost the
remains of their language.
it will have faded to
a song of
stuttered consonants and
misshapen vowels and no matter
how long i search,
they’ll no longer
be there.

But today,
I thumb through what’s left
of my great-grandmother
searching for fragments that
fell aw
-ay
with her last breaths. Her words
are tipping off the ledge
that is my tongue, ready
to fall.

They do not.