My mother’s tongue effortlessly danced

With the syllables and rhythms of her mother tongue,

Her voice, gentle like whispered secrets,

Revealed a depth of love.


Words gracefully composed;

I heard melodies when she spoke,

Symphonies of hope as her gentle cadence

Loosened the burdens of the world.


Life and death are in the power

Of a mother’s tongue,

A child’s heart can be cradled, crumpled, cut,

Or caressed by the choruses that their mothers sung.


Today, the waters were troubled

I struggled to stay afloat,

My legs barely kicking,

My arms fatigued from the pressure of the current.


In desperation, engulfed by the waves,

I called her name and waited and waited.

I eased my eyes shut,

Just as one closes a book, its story completed, never to be revisited.


My mother told me to speak,

And in that moment, I froze,

Home has always been her voice.


Detention Diaries by John Bernard

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