Gospel

Not one of my languages is hers,
but I talk to her all the same.

If I’m feeling maternal,
the words come in English,
the language
that mothered me -

‘What’s up? You want to go out?’

Other times, remembering she’s adopted,
I speak to her in Spanish or Catalan,
the languages
that adopted me -

‘¿Qué pasa? Vols sortir?’

She doesn't seem to mind my chopping and changing,
even if she herself never strays
beyond the small repertoire of replies
that are familiar to us both.

Take this morning. There she is,
dozing the day away,
when I go to tell her
the good news.

‘We can stay’, I say,
‘the landlord’s renewed the lease –
so this will go on being
your home, your chair.'

She opens her eyes, yawns,
and rests her head against
my outstretched hand. That,
and a sweet purr, is all.

There. Can you hear it?
Brief and faint in three/four time,
a wordless song of praise
to the common ground.

        
        - Alan Nance, Catalonia, www.walkinginmind.com

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