it flowed
from her womb
the river of words
that became
mine, faithful~
following me
to be loved
to be caressed
in articulations
to be read
in random forays
to be comfort
in a sense
of belonging
to be inscribed
on the map
of my spring years.

it slipped then
through the cracks
lost on the highway
of a life lived
in layers of wanderings.
the alphabets
that had shaped
my childhood
became strangers
the lilt of the language
became alien
the lexicon
a forgotten forest
syllables mere murmurs
of distant seas
on the map
of my summer years.

it flowed back again
with the late tide
rushing in to claim
its bank of memories
of a tongue bruised
and lost in time.
it flowed back again
with the music
of its cadence
echoing in corridors
where they had
once nestled
and I dust away
the fugitive years
and shine the light
of a lost language
on the map
of my autumn years.

sweet is the sound
of a mother tongue.

Photo by Ken Cheung on Unsplash

Bina Sarkar Ellias

bina, (aka Bina Sarkar Ellias) is a poet, founder-editor-designer-publisher of International Gallerie, an award-winning publication since 1997, and a fiction-writer. As art curator, she is currently curating a 2024 show for a gallery in New York. Her books of poems include ‘The Room’, ‘Fuse’ (which has been taught at the Towson University, USA) and has a Mandarin edition, ‘When Seeing Is Believing’, ‘Cercana Lejania / Closer Farness’ a Spanish-English bi-lingual book, ‘Song of a Rebel and ‘Ukiyo-e Days… Haiku Moments’. Her poems have been translated into French, Spanish, Greek, Chinese, Arabic and Urdu. She received a Fellowship from the Asia Leadership Fellow Program 2007, the Times Group Yami Women Achievers’ award, 2008, and the FICCI/FLO 2013 award for excellence in her work.