She insists on ‘mummy,’ or ‘mommy,’ or ‘mom.’
I wince and claim ‘amma’ – this word – chord
of lineage – this word – river running into sea.
We spar daily in this hierarchy of sounds, language
our capers on the floor of two continents.
Rich with the sounds of her anklets, the air
shimmers with wind chimes to her every move.
‘Go away,’ ‘I don’t like you,’ sounds sharp as a mouse-trap
closing on prey. I become a mountain, looming censor
of sounds to be said, not said, at three.
Also comes the daily bevy of I love yous – a sound around
which bloom entire fields of tulips in which I dance.
I anchor my entire existence for the sound of her laughter,
she grasps a joke, it skips clumsily through a white topsy-turvy.
From this her mouth – small dark cave, mysterious orifice,
the provenance elsewhere – sounds slip through, inchoate clues
to the moist clay of her self, these are the days I believe truth
may have a color the cluster of dark purple grapes, the hours
are like piano keys, and poems don’t ache with loneliness.