Speech patterns

By | 15 May 2023

When I open my mouth,
I speak mountains, crags tearing
at the corners of my lips.
Each sentence wraps, like twilight fog,

around Mount Rigi
missing her lakes, wondering
when we started making history
out of anything but granite.

The choices we pronounced
grew roots through soil
reaching into calcified grottos,
dripped from stalactites to stalagmites,
ran down mint-coloured rivers
and ended up as glittering stones
for sub-alpine children
to twist their tongues around.

Now, on flatter terrain, my fricatives
no longer touch the uvula,
so I cultivate wild garlic
in my glottis, glacial erratics

rolling off my alveolar ridge.
Elderflowers bloom on my tonsils
in a September spring: my name
has a new melody, I am more

than an Umlaut – stroking spruces
with my tongue, I press them
to the front between my teeth,
their obstruction producing the sound

of a Föhn storm sweeping the forest.

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