Sunday, January 18, 2009

In Translation - Amelia Walker

In Translation

This language is a borrowed dress
I put on,
but never truly wear.
It is functional enough:
hides what must be hidden,
enables me to blend into streets and supermarket aisles.
Still I know -perhaps others can tell-
it is not mine.
It hangs baggily in some places,
affords no movement in others;
is patched mismatching colours -legacy
of countless past wearers.
It has been taken in,
taken out, torn and soiled,
sewn up and let down.
No matter how much I wash it
the fabric is flavoured with moments that are not mine:
spilled drinks and cigarettes,
perfume and sweat,
a million mixed meanings,
minefields for misinterpretation.
Still I walk around, wrapped in this language:
foreign as it is, I know no other.
Secretly, though, I pick at its frays,
trying to imagine what could be
if this language and I were to unravel
into nakedness,
into silence.
Without words there are no rule books,
without words there are no lies.

Amelia Walker
(first appeared in The Mollusca Chain)

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