How many languages must you learn
before you can understand your own?
When she lived on a mountain
among people whose language
she did not know, her own language turned
into a festival of fruits, and a festival of birds.
Sometimes I think I prefer to live between languages,
within silences only I can hear –
Requiem Aeternam dona eis for the men the ocean ate,
swaying on dark ships from the Levant
in the year of our lord
i look for my language,
still finding their hairs in it.
I look at her, sated, and think
here is the true work of the body:
to adorn itself and be