She must learn again to speak
starting with I
starting with We
starting as the infant does
with her own true hunger
and pleasure
and rage.

-- Marge Piercy



If you know me,
the word “Chipotle” was the very
first three-syllable word I re-learned.

Imagine my surprise
when I couldn’t get it out
at the deli counter…

I was stuttering, stammering,
I was pointing but the girl
behind the counter (for some reason)
didn’t see it.

But before I could become frustrated,
the man next to me spoke up,
he gave the order for me.

I smiled, thanked him.

“Where are you from?” he asked.

(I get this question often since the stroke.
Some people just guess,
France? Australia? Ireland? Scotland?
Depending on my mood, or if
I've used all the words given to me daily
I simply answer, yes).

“No, I had a stroke, I’m from here.” I said.

“Oh! In that case, you’re doing really well….
Keep going!” he said.

"Thank you,” I said.

Then he kept going and
asked me all sorts of questions,
while we waited until his havarti came out,
and my chicken came out.

“Have a good day,” I said,
as we parted.

Often, I would beat up on myself after
one of these incidents (and there are many),
with some mixture
of embarrassment and defeat.

Not this time,
because it hit me for the first time…
Maybe it’s not about me, after all.

Maybe the words left me,
so that I could discover,
He needed me more to listen,
as much as I needed him to talk.

And I'm Off...or Not...

And I'm Off...or Not...

Goodbye For Now

Goodbye For Now