Deborah L. Humphreys

sinner with seven tongues

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bless me, lord
i am a poet, a sinner
in need of confession, guilty
of loving a language which is not my first
or even my second. i confess
to the sin of accumulation
books, tapes, learning aids filling
my room to the doors, my heart with envy
for those with more blas than i

with this partner i would like to be dancing
without stopping for breath, but i am not able
even to support the weight of a single declension
yet forgive me these slips
of tongue, trespasses of idiom, my foot planted
flat down in the garden of my mouth
where the grafted tongues grow
wonderful and strange as seven tongues of flame

while the garden grows, my dinner molds
in the microwave. dust accumulates
as fast as new snow. my eyes fixed upon
the foclóir, banshees dance about
and poems rise out of fairy mounds
fresh and fully formed

o lord, on my tongue i have the words
of contrition, but not lined up in the proper order
show me your mercy and maybe
a short lesson on the possessive
don't send visions. i have sufficient
videotapes. i'll see you next week
give me your blessings:

foighne ort, fáinne ort, fáinne óir ort
Patience on you, a ring for you, a gold ring for you.

In Irish in Is Glas Iad section.