Mother Tongue

by Nora Nadjarian

Which language do you dream in,

swear in, cry in, asked the questionnaire.

How many languages do you swim in,

drown in, breathe in, mime in?


Do you know how many tongues have adopted

your voice? And when at night you stare

at dark walls and one pair of lips

comes closer, whispering in perfect German


Ich bin deine Mutter -


Or the night shadows enlarge into a Fritz Lang

open scream and Muttersprache appears

on the silent movie screen, then:

what do you reply? In which language,


and how clearly, do you say: my mother tongue

is somewhere in the recesses of my mind.

I am not an orphan. I have a mother.

She put me to bed one night


and went away. The film we made

together has long been silent. But I still

hear her voice in the keyhole of my heart.






© Nora Nadjarian