The woman beside me is French. I conjugate
verbs and try to form a sentence. My Italian
was better than her Spanish or so she said,
amusing herself with a presentment, how
different paths meet. A screen door
slammed as a dark body ran between houses.
Four languages revolve in my mind.
Aware that I too am unwashed, my sleep
penetrates the pungent recesses
of my companion’s body.
“Man shall know nothing of this”
and yet he insinuates himself.
Lint and stray hairs
like rainbow amoebas
adhere to the garment’s black weave
(graminaceous machines
from a post-dated page).
Is it possible to be fluent?
To make any language an own thing?

Donald Wellman | Mudlark No. 34
Contents | “A pastel fragment ...”