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Self Portrait as the Immigrant Finding Love in a second language

Sujash Purna

IMAGE:  Sabrine S. Hakam

Sujash Purnais a poet and photographer. He is the author of Epidemic of Nostalgia (Finishing Line Press). His poetry appeared in South Carolina Review, Hawai`i Pacific Review, Kansas City Voices, Poetry Salzburg Review, English Journal, Stonecoast Review, and others. His photography can be found on Instagram @poeticnomadic.

I am not crying, your, you’re, you are

You correct my misspells, my taco truck literacy,


I can only make you the best burrito and you 

can tell me who to vote for when I get my green card


Last night your necklace called me like the dream

walking by the alleyway, an apple in hand, lady luck 


We were waiting for the bus stranded in the rain

after the party You told me you could never be with


somebody who doesn’t understand the complexities

in your language, how euphemisms work, how you love cereal


I took it as a sign you thought I am still fresh off the boat

I am fresh off the airbus, fresh off the overnight odd-job shift


I work my backbone off to break bread at the end 

of the day On weekends I want a taste of tequila


off your lips Rain takes us apart in the middle of a pandemic

We cannot be together without testing, you tell me


I learn how to say I am sorry even when I don’t feel a thing

I learn how to write a poem in the language I don’t speak 


You took me home anyway and your necklace that dreamed

of an American dream touched my tongue as it rained outside

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