America’s Got My Tongue (poem)

I have crossed

water, borders, space, time,

seeking new opportunities.

 

 

As my feet become rooted

in this patriotic soil,

I feel the chains opening.

 

 

My dreams no longer held hostage,

I celebrate

and express my joy.

 

 

When I open my mouth

to speak my native language,

you shackle my tongue.

 

 

You force me to carve out a new name,

more “Americanized,”

more fragmented.

 

 

Call me by my right name

Allow my tongue to reside

in two lands.

 

 

It is nimble and quick.

It can adapt

to the standards

 

of English.

It can flow,

second language-thick.

 

 

My language is my umbilical cord

to my culture, to family separated

by continents, connected by hope.

 

 

It is what I am and what I will remain.

It does not make us strangers, for

we are linked by our humanity.

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