Every two weeks, another language or dialect goes extinct.
The language that only youand I spoke went extinctThe moment you died I am already forgettingour syntax
Who will understand that phrase I use on aRainy day with the dogs pinning us in bed and you Struggling not to laugh
The language is slipping that you and I spoke On hidden trails in PennsylvaniaOn dangerous bridges in FairbanksOn road trips south and losing our way
I am scooping up phrases and words made up wordsthey spill from my handsLike skittles
We thought the weatherman hilariouswhen he said blustery andwe heard blistery We loved the word heinous for no reason
How long did it take meTo learn that your languageHid no secrets from me
You said what you saidI heard what I heardAnd now here I amWishing for those Unintended slightsthose fightsUntil bed When we’d leave language behind
You and I had differences You and I had wordsYou and I gave wordsTo each otherOur language is going extinctI cannot transcribe it or Salvage old tapes I can only retrieve the pieces I stored in my heart not thoseThat went with you that day
Who knew you were a whole bookWaiting for me to write Just thisRight nowRight here
Shelley Blue Grabel has been writing poetry since she learned to write. In 1975 Persephone Press published The Fourteenth Witch, a book of Shelley’s poems with photographs by Deborah Snow. In 2022, Broadkill River Press published a new collection of her work, Dowry Burnings. She has performed her poetry in NYC coffee houses, Philadelphia venues, Irish Eyes, Lewes Library, Rehoboth Writers Guild Night of Poetry and Song, Milton Poetry Fest and other local venues. She continues to develop her poetic style thanks to workshops and retreats sponsored by the Delaware Division of the Arts.