when my mother died
so did our language

the one we spoke
each day at the kitchen table
each night by the hum
of the television
on the telephone   between visits

the language that dropped
from the open window above
her garden
while she pruned and tied and watered

an old language
perfect for prayers she whispered
songs she sang

it lived between us
like the child we both loved

now i must slide my fingers over this
miracle of technology
to hear her     voice

this new world has no need for
old languages
but while i am here
i will hold it safe
in the limbo of my gut

Read the Italian translation of this poem here.

Gianna Patriarca was born in Ceprano, Italy. Her family immigrated to Canada in l960. Gianna is the author of eleven books. Her most recent collection is To The Men Who Write Goodbye Letters (Inanna 2020). Read a review here.

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