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Beyond Language

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

my mother once told me

when i speak chinese

you can’t understand me

when you speak english

i can’t understand you

and it struck my heart into two

how did i not see

this ever-growing chasm the

fundamentals of language

ripping and clawing,

slashing, tearing, burning

my tongue rolls in my mouth

pebbles clashing in a cavernous rock tumbler

trying to make each other

smooth, fluent

but i can’t spin it fast enough

the rocks can’t smooth each other out and

language has failed me

what else can i do

what tender touch, what loving words

can i utter to fashion my own bridge

if two architects design different plans

how can i tell my mother that i

love her

without having to speak the words

i build a different bridge

i abandon words, fluency

there is more to life than what we say

instead we make every plank of the bridge a different form of


maybe today it’s a kind smile

tomorrow it’ll be a bowl of fruit silently delivered

and yesterday it was a walk in the park, just the two of us

we build bridges

in the best way we can

imperfect, rickety, flawed bridges

creaking, unstable, shaky

but they are loving bridges and

in that way we can understand each other

making a bridge is no real test of love but

walking the bridge is

Cover Photo Source: iStock


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