I wrote this several months ago, and it's lived quietly on my iPad ever since. I keep thinking that I've posted it already, and then I keep not. But I decided today's the day. It's written with a friend in mind, though it's as much about me, about my LPSP05 team, about anyone.
She says she feels guilty
standing still as the solid Texas ground shifts,
as devastating to her as tectonics,
as gravity, blood.
In school, she mastered her language
while theirs was elective, worth losing.
But worlds change inside lifetimes
and now she feels the guilt
of ignorance at the grocery store, the gas pump, church.
Words are mountains. We exalted them
when we met, sharing books like cake,
swiping poetry with gooey fingers and sighing through closed eyes.
But words are mountains, impassable and hard and
one step at a time, because they are there.
I should have stopped her, should have asked
What word of theirs
do you love, when it stops being noise
and turns into music?
Because there's a song I hum to myself, full of words
I infer but don't know and refuse to look up:
descanso, confio, m'esperanza, fidelidad.
Standing in that room with dozens of voices,
I first heard the musical mystery in illiteracy.
It's where I learned the lesson:
words are mountains,
but we are climbers and lovers of heights.