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Regional Accents

for Naomi

Martian is my native tongue.

Though I learned English

at a young age, passed my forms,

I still speak with an accent.

My words are tinged with

alien tones and people stare

when I speak, talk over me,

talk for me, interrupt, anything

to interrupt my own sounds.

I have been called well-spoken;

I mistook it for a compliment

when I was young. On Mars,

it would have been. Martians

speak cleanly. English words

on a plainspoken tongue sit

heavy, forceful, and worst, rude.

Years of training cannot

eradicate my accent. I learned

only to stay silent, to apologize

for my flat and honest English.

I am losing my Martian words

and English will never let me

replace them. I can only keep

my voice if I learn again

to speak unafraid and say:

My native language is Martian.

You should learn it

if you wish to understand me.

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