Mudlark No. 51 (2013)

The Language for This

They say the king of the indigenous people’s one duty now
is to pretend he does not speak Spanish, that it is possible 

to get along with only his own language. Home Creek 
is how English-speaking West Indian settlers knew the place 

we lived. But Spanish-speaking officials wrote Hone Creek.  
The word hone as a mistake—it’s not so strange considering

inaccuracy is what is refined, trying to hold an impression
over time. The name Home wasn’t saved in any written record.

So there is no way to go back. When I was a baby, 
before I could try to speak, native women swam the creek,

covering only their breasts because, they said, they were 
born with the other parts (the ones we might

call private). The breasts are an embarrassment
because they change over time. And how I have grown—

But no more articulate. Babies parted from mothers
speak well enough of the need for the known with their first cries.

And the want to be understood—it has been stated by the silence
of elders, and the willful, the wistful, mapmakers’ errors. 

Rose McLarney | Aloof Above
Contents | Mudlark No. 51 (2013)