Letter Written While Waiting in Line at Comic Con
Klingon, Parseltongue, Na’vi.
People invent imaginary languages so imaginary
citizens of imaginary worlds can speak
to one another. Elvish, Ewokese,
Dothraki. You can learn these languages,
come to a convention with your face painted blue
or a leather scabbard bolted to your back,
and talk to people who will understand you.
I understand what language feels like
when you’re not understood. More than once,
I thought some other planet might be home.
Once I saw a man punch another man
until neither looked like a person.
There are hundreds of reasons like this
to long to be from some other galaxy,
century, or dimension. Reasons
to put on a space suit or wizard’s cloak
and hope no one will recognize you. But it’s not
these costumes that amaze me; it’s always been
the languages. The way they reach
for something that can’t be said
in our tongue. In the only language I know,
there are not enough words for parabola
or isotope. Too few phrases to say I’m
sorry or I’m glad that I found you.
Though we’ve been married for years,
I wish we met when we were children.
If we had known each other in the year
you spent alone on Earth without one friend,
we could’ve been aliens together.
I’d have those green, four-fingered hands.
You, with your glow-in-the-dark antennae.
Words in the form of strange whirling noises.
Low chirping machine sounds.
Wisps of static, lamentations of rain.
Only you and I would know what it meant.
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