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|English as a Second Language|
by Karen Dowell
We've been living together
for almost eight years
yet he barely knows the language.
Content with his limited vocabulary,
a hundred or so nouns and verbs,
he has no use for
articles, adverbs, or
the nuances of tense.
He stares at me intently
when I speak,
waiting for the words
thrilled when he culls
fragments of sense
from my exhausting sentences--
even when the meaning
isn't what he hoped.
And if I don't understand his words,
spoken with the intensity of haiku,
he, like a boorish American
on vacation in Europe,
Reprinted with permission by Karen Dowell for Two Dog Press. From A Year on the Avenue, Athens Avenue Poetry Circle. © Copyright 1998 by the Athens Avenue Poetry Circle. All Rights Reserved. Originally appeared in Poetry Magazine.
© Copyright 1997, 2019, The Fairfield Review Inc., All Rights Reserved.
Document last modified on: 02/12/1998