Sharon Carter

Learning A New Language

Iím losing vowels I learned
in houses where wall nudged wall
and the din of local consonants
leaked through open windows and doors.
Rain beat down on cast- iron roofs,
slapped gutters, echoed in my head.
My eyes sucked up darkness, sandwiching
fear between fear.

There were conventions I followed:
write a thousand lines over
and over, converse with bamboo canes.
My legs understood this dialect.
Sometimes my knuckles
raised themselves to meet the rulerís edge.
I broke the code of silence,
counted the number of dead
bugs in the correction corner.

Iím looking for contemporary words
with clear boundaries, sharp edges--
a whole new approach.
Iíll invent my own rules--
Iím going to say No,
over and over and over,
until I get it right.

Copyright 1999,  Sharon Carter
Sharon Carter received her medical degree from Cambridge University, England and immigrated in 1979. Her poems have been published in Raven Chronicles, Mediphors, Pandora, Exhibition and by other small presses.

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