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Lovers' English: a theme

Kate Schapira

Becomes all English. One of the mouth's efficient chambers turns probabilities into assurances, finishes sentences, flies flags. Tongue up to the mark. We truncate, use letters, add false dimininutives. Things were funny conversations ago. Here, no one knows how private is. They could only know how well or how much by watching us, if they wanted. As comprehensible as other, no one notes us.

Exclaiming over t-shirt English we take two buses together. Questions move front to back: when we pay, do we pay, do we pay here, how do we know. Tempers in keeping we shake out the folds. Tongues burn. We turn the sleeves back under and replace the plastic. All around us girls ruffle intently without speaking. Simultaneously to hold and give in the act: our codes pocket and take it with us.

Where next. How to ask for what we want, boring to overhear or reminisce. That and pointing out: keep the head straight while walking, indicate direction, supposing anyone could overhear a brief description, as at home: Look at those two under the bush, to the left, where people have ensconced to cuddle, read or eat lunch. Look at those two holding hands, clear plastic, pocked skin, ruffles become desperate. We climb one of many flights of stone steps. Take English out on one another.

Time before bed is dank time, time to worry about complicity and wonder why the air conditioner, on the first few nights, is off now. Our relation to each other becomes very still. All plans must pass through English for the next day. We wait for bedtime. Little traffic. Sleep to wait outside tomorrow, twirling my umbrella alone to shed the rain, catch up to the foreign bookstore, touch on the escalator.

Kate Schapira

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