Many Tongues by Natasha Ramoutar

I do not speak
in my mother’s tongue of exasperated sighs and soft laughs,
those noises that sit side to slight smiles.

I do not speak
the dialect of my grandmother,
struggling to imitate her voice as she says
yuh tek yuh eyes and pass me.

I do not speak
the words of those women before my grandmother
from some long lost homeland across oceans.

I try to wrap my mouth
around the stretched vowels of the word jaan;

come up empty
and gasping
every time.

 

Copyright © Natasha Ramoutar. Forthcoming in Bittersweet (Mawenzi House, Spring 2020).

 

Natasha Ramoutar is an Indo-Guyanese writer by way of Scarborough (Ganatsekwyagon) at the east side of Toronto. She is a graduate of the Master of Professional Communication program at Ryerson University. Her work has been included in projects by Diaspora Dialogues, Scarborough Arts, and Nuit Blanche Toronto and has been published in The Unpublished City II, PRISM Magazine, Room Magazine, Living Hyphen and more. Find Natasha on Instagram & Twitter @spondeee.

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