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Languages I Never Learned to Speak
Languages I Never Learned to Speak
Mixed Media, Framed
8" x 10"

When I was small I lived
near woods, but never learned
the plants or birds
or trees: how smooth
and double-toothed
the alder by the stream,
the juicy hemlock’s tiny cones,
the mystery of seeds.
And acorns, while familiar,
held no hint for me
of red oaks’ slender
catkins in the spring.
I knew the owls, of course,
and hummingbirds, but missed
the warblers, the wrens.
I couldn’t name the spicebush,
whose soft yellow leaves
would tantalize my dreams,
and blackberries that stained
my fingers’ loops and whorls
could teach me only
e’s and y’s and o’s.

Mary Bast, Time Warp