Tongue By Ally Ang


my father’s english is still broken
after 26 years in america.

when english breaks
whose tongue is cut on its shards?
why is it that I remain unscathed
while my father is bleeding?

my father is losing his native tongue
no longer dreams in bahasa indonesia
falters on the phone with his siblings.

my father never taught me his language
& I am afraid it is too late to cross the barrier
that english has built between us.

I wonder if he misses his village in Lombok
where the sun painted the crimson sky
every night
& he fell asleep to the sound
of evening prayer.

(my father doesn’t tell me these things.
there are some barriers
greater than language.)

every morning, the moon retreats
into the dark mouth
of the universe

& we wait for our broken tongues
to heal.

By Ally Ang


Ally Ang is a queer femme of color whose work has been published in journals including The Fem, Tinderbox Poetry, and Rambutan Literary. Ally’s first chapbook, Monstrosity, is available from Damaged Goods Press. Ally is in a long distance relationship with the moon.

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