Jack of Many Trades

Regional Accents

Originally posted: 2014-07-08

Martian is my native tongue.
Though I learned English
at a young age, passed my forms, 
I still speak with an accent.
My words are tinged with
alien tones and people stare
when I speak, talk over me,
talk for me, interrupt, anything
to interrupt my own sounds.

I have been called well-spoken;
I mistook it for a compliment 
when I was young. On Mars,
it would have been. Martians
speak cleanly. English words
on a plainspoken tongue sit
heavy, forceful, and worst, rude.

Years of training cannot 
eradicate my accent. I learned
only to stay silent, to apologize
for my flat and honest English.
I am losing my Martian words
and English will never let me
replace them. I can only keep
my voice if I learn again
to speak unafraid and say:
My native language is Martian.
You should learn it
if you wish to understand me.

This poem was prompted by Naomi.