Every day I tried to learn a little more English.

I took to carrying verb conjugation charts in my pocket.

As my English became less elusive, my Farsi was jealous.

Farsi is a language of emotions — varied shades of feeling

can be mixed like primary colors on an artist’s easel.

Farsi is a poet’s language: there is a word for

what happens when your grieving heart is silently shedding tears.

English is an all-devouring language that moved across America like

the biblical plagues that darkened the skies of Pharaoh’s Egypt.

Raised in Farsi, I partook of English, a mongrel feast.


Paraphrases from the essay “Two Languages in Mind, But Just One in the Heart” by Louise Erdrich.