Bor­rowed Tongue

New England Review - - Music - Khaled Mat­tawa

Maybe I’m a fool hold­ing two threads, one black, one white, wait­ing for dawn to tell them apart. But I’m only prac­tic­ing my re­li­gion which I nei­ther bor­rowed nor stole. Maybe I’m a fool think­ing of a bet­ter an­swer than the trans­plant pa­tient who said I’m sorry some­one had to die.

No, I haven’t out­grown my tongue. It’s a coat your mother gives you, crim­son or cobalt blue, satin in­side, the col­lar wide enough to cover your whole neck. All win­ter you wear it then spring comes but never goes. That’s Ara­bic to me. I wear a white shirt now— thin gray stripes, top but­ton gone— and it fits.

(1995, Vol­ume 17.4)

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