© Oma Dok (Gail Doktor) 2022

I sought an interpreter
To stand between me
And the unknown.

A mechanism
Or an aide
To help me understand
What you were trying to say
In your foreign tongue
That I could not mimic
With my bipedal, single-tongued, mono-brained
Way of speaking.

I was willing
To let someone else,
Another sentience,
With greater command
Of universal expressions,
Render my truth
Into unknown words.

So perhaps you could hear me, too.

Technically this exchange was just
The roll of energy
Moving through real space
Rather than vacuum
Detectable within a time and place
Where something carries the wave
And resists the particles
So they take form
In windpipe and palette.

Yet what you want
Me to parse, to perceive,
Is also shaped
By your intention.

And now,
Just now,
Watching you,
Without someone to utter it for you,
Or explain it to me,
I realize
Beneath all the layers
Of syllable, of sound,
Whether audible to my naked ears
Or beyond the reach of my senses,
Outside what any translator might state,
Is simply this common language: