English is my
second language
poetry is my first
the slipping soul language
seldom spoken with fluency
the art of insatiability
the way words climb and clamor in corners
catch sparkles of sunlight riding specks of dust
starlit remnants
lick snowflakes off the face of a stranger

we are all immigrants to language
born into the mute space between
silence and everything

born into the tongue held mystery of imagination
still frame
black and white
then color
then sound
then meaning
laughter and delight when mouth corners
turn upward
don’t tell me you weren’t born a poet
when you lifted infant fist to cloudy skies
spread fingers towards yellow sun
moved your body towards warmth

no stranger to the way words whip
wind wild around world-weary laugh lines
the wrinkles of a smile
build a fire in the dancing eyes of a stranger

so universal is poetry that
i spoke the language without hesitance in the
slums of Negombo and the outskirts of
in a tiny tavern in Colorado
with unmistakable sensuality in
Mercado Veintiocho
to my newborn son as he
gazed up
a stranger
and wrote our mother tongue
with his suckling lips
straight onto the stratus of my beating heart