I am assumed to be other until I speak,
Speech free from accented shackles
That would otherwise asphyxiate meaning,
Demarcate my chosen tongue as one other than my own.
So it's no wonder that I hesitate
To claim a language I am well-versed in,
To reverse the assumption that it must be broken.
There are no colonizers without colons:
No false parallels without punctuation.
I studied English to understand
those who draw a period before I have even started a sentence,
Who impose a type because my face says things
before my mouth opens.
When this happens enough,
you start to internalize the language
written for you by others.
You start to investigate form as a function of fear,
when the urge to create is greater
than the urge to disappear.
Which parts do I fictionalize,
and which parts do I forget?
I live so deeply in my own head
I fear I've lost my voice.