Syndic Literary Journal

Syndic No. 40 ~ Jennifer Lagier 2

Language I Knew in Another Life

Written & Narrated by Jennifer Lagier


Language I Knew in Another Life 

from a quote by Diane Porter 

I dream of long-dead aunts and uncles

seated at my great-grandmother’s Sunday table.

Their voices raise in musical celebration,

an animated soundtrack of Italian dialect

no longer part of my world.


In sleep, I mimic their rowdy chorus,

throat sore from strangled subtext,

unable to repeat words or recreate melodies,

soundlessly mouthing mother tongue songs.


Perhaps it’s cultural self-censorship,

a lifetime of stifled stories,

omerta demanded by family loyalty,

refusal to spill their secrets,

reveal ancient history that could bury us all.



Compiled/Published by LeRoy Chatfield
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