Prerna Bakshi

Sometimes the simplest words are the hardest to say

 

(First appeared in Wilderness House Literary Review)

 

 

In memory of my beloved sister 

 

 

Does language determine thought?

Or, does thought determine language?

This debate is still not settled.

Still it’s fascinating how quickly

does our language change,

how quickly does it accommodate reality,

as soon as someone dies.

Our tongue, suddenly,

rolls out verbs

in the past tense

before our mind

could even form thoughts.

It’s as if our tongues have a mind of their own.

 

Sometimes, in the race between

language and thought,

language finds a way

to get ahead.

But not always.

It’s been 11 years since I’ve lost

my sister to blood cancer, and

yet it’s one of the shortest words in

my language, I find

impossible to use.

I guess, I refuse to use.

ਸੀथीthi – Was

(Feminine, singular, past tense)

 

 

 

 

I can hear you

 

(First published in Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature)

 

 

I can hear you

when you say the first time.

I can hear you

when you assume how I might have missed it.

I can hear you

when you say the second time.

I can hear you

when you start to speak loud at the top of your lungs.

I can hear you

when you start to move your lips super slowly.

I can hear you

when you begin to get irritated.

I can hear you

when you take a deep breath,

shake your head in frustration.

I can hear you

when you start to say something,

leave off midway.

I can hear you

when you say it would require too much effort.

I can hear you

when you do not speak to me directly,

but in third person

with others, even when I’m around.

I can hear you

more often than you think.

Even without

my hearing aid.

I can hear you well

better than you would expect.

 

 

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