A Language Learning Adventure with Wrecked Haiku

By Emily Reid Green


On Arabic

You sharpen the vowel to shape the lens–

This is how I know for sure

your love is for me alone.

(Tongue greets soft palate.)

            *           *           *

There’s no chicken scratch in Arabic–

The letters won’t allow it.

Instead ink dips, swirls, unfurls:

Wonder-watch words dance.


On American Sign Language

Try to take up space and use the face,

Like life, end with a question,

When the eyebrows sink lower

Tell time and answer.


On French

Mostly hidden breeds a mystery

of letters sweetly silent,

of endings up in the air:

World within a word.