Words drip from our lips like honey, slowly, sweetly

Or spew from the loose fire hydrant of our mouths

Joy, pain, wisdom all in a language that goes unheard

You turn to us and say in a painstakingly slow cadence

And an ear-piercing timbre, “Do you understand?”

We have spent the same years in school as you, maybe even more:

Kindergarten, high school, and two master’s degrees

We’ve had our hearts broken and have experienced joy 

That sends us to our knees

There’s a depth to us that you can’t fathom because your thoughts and your words roar

Like a forest crashing down, that we are incapable of profundity

But instead of trying to express this, 

I nod, 

Because your language is not our own. 




About the Author

Beatrix (she/her) has a zeal for mentorship, educational equity, student success, and community-building. After living and teaching in Shanghai for five years, she moved to NYC to continue her career as an education specialist while completing her master's in social work at Columbia University. 


Author Statement

"I wrote this regarding language barriers and respect for another culture and way of life. It's something that I think about quite often, especially after moving to Shanghai. Written for my mother and how she must have felt when she first moved across the ocean to our small town in Texas."