Pronunciation practice

by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa

I ask my student:

Is today a long day

or a wrong day?

She answers correctly.

Because every day is a wrong day,

the sky is full of them

my house is a mess and might burn

down tomorrow or I’ll get evicted

and live under a blue sheet near

the train station.   You never

know, the train might be late due to

a suicide on the tracks and the tracks

on your arm will stay there forever.

Just moments ago somebody

whispered in your ear “goodbye

forever!” It was the voice of your

ex-husband who is suing you for

emotional distress.  When the money

runs out you’ll die under a tree

in the forest if you’re lucky

if there are any left, the deer

mercilessly eat them, no wolves to

control the deer.  If only we

could bring back the wolves,

restart the engine, go back in

time, you are young and innocent

before strange diseases killed and

disfigured you before life’s

obstacles only got

bigger like items in your rear view

mirror, before every move you make

seems wrong and your breathing

becomes labored and your teeth

yellow, before the color of the sky

was tainted and your students knew

the difference between “long” and