Language Barrier 1: Conversations This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

April 23, 2012
I know what you're talking about.
We are in the same room, and I cannot help but
overhear your conversation.
Maybe you want me to listen –
it would explain why your volume is so loud.
Your strange words coil around me
As I watch you and some stranger talking.
It's not just your tone
or the way you keep glancing at me.
I can read well enough between the lines.
Just because I don't understand,
don't think me dumb.
Instead, I will glance away,
place myself somewhere where languages are united,
and imagine that my friend is here talking to me
about absolutely anything.
I don't want you to be over there,
excluding me from your world,
a whole culture away from mine.
Is this revenge for when I speak my language to
someone else?
To make me understand how you feel?
Surely, I've already suffered enough.
Then you call my name.
Welcoming gestures,
a sunny smile.
Translations are made,
and you've expanded my world of friends by one.
It's all so simple.
Perhaps I was wrong.
Impatient as I am,
my jealousy showed.
Warm feelings seep into my being, and
I'm touched to tears.
Paranoia must not get the better of me,
because I don't want to lose you.
After all,
you were the one who taught me so long ago in your language
how to say
“I love you.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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