愛 (love)

I loved the way my name fit in my great-grandma’s mouth
I never understood why
people would say her Portuguese was broken
How so?
How could it be?
when her voice carried so proudly
the fingerprints of the first people she had ever loved
They said her Portuguese was broken
but what is wrong with a tongue
that walks on foreign soil
but always finds its way back home?

How could it be broken?
when every time she spoke
I could feel the love of people I never got to meet
How could something broken
show me all the things she built for me?

I was only two when she passed away
but every time I feel something so huge
that it frightens me
that it barely fits inside my body
that it takes my breath away
Every time I stammer
Every time that
I… I…
I… I… I…
have too much or not enough to say
I picture her right beside me
looking at me
as I struggle to find the words

and all I can say is
I… I… I… I…

Then she always smiles
there is always so much pride
so much gleam in her tiny eyes
And I hear a voice that grounds me
that takes me to a place that had never heard my name
say
what a lovely mantra, dear!
Did you know
you are repeating
the Japanese word for love?

They said her Portuguese was broken.
But how could something broken
take me to sites I had never been to?
With every word she said
I could hear
I miss our home
come along with me

They said her Portuguese was broken
I say there is nothing to be fixed.


Edited by Michelle Nishidera

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