Dying Languages

One language is lost
every two weeks. Researchers travel the world
to interview the last speakers.

Quiet, and you can hear what they say:
“She left the parrot in the car,”
“Cut off his leg to make it stop trembling,”

“Keep me safe from myself.”
What kinds of languages get lost?
Not ones we speak in Los Angeles

New York or Miami.
A language from a place so hot and humid
words can no longer form in people’s mouths.

A language so cruel that people have to cover their ears
so as to not be contaminated.
A language so silly each time a phrase is uttered

people in the streets die laughing.
Now and again men, women, children, goats
faint after overhearing the stupidest thought.

One language will never be lost:
the language of poets struggling to understand
why we die with one word on our lips.


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