do you like to visit the zoo?
ana from peru asks.
i do, i say, and she ticks the box,
then probes further: what do you like best?
i wonder when i last went to the zoo.
what will be an animal she knows?
does our zoo have hedgehogs?
monkeys, i say, and we thank each other.
camellia, another voice asks
(through my own enunciation
i became a flower)
where do you want to go on vacation?
england, i say. why? because i love it.
the box is ticked, no more explanation necessary.
what could i say, after all, that would make sense?
we thank each other, and move on.
the sun sets and chicken comes out of the oven;
we eat and talk and i ask the questions now.
where do you work?
how do you celebrate holidays?
how do you say toothbrush in french?
how do you say lightbulb in berber?
they tell me my pronunciation is good,
but i have already forgotten the words.