ESL by Liat Miriam

I’m quiet now.
It’s hard to be loud when you’ve grown
used to silence and hide from your
mother tongue. To write in another
language is to forget where you’re from,
she said.

She said her name is Gal and she’s
sorry her English isn’t better. I watched
her suck her thumb. She said she just
turned sixteen. Gal means wave, as
in the sea. The sea is loud.

I’m quiet

walking beside quiet;
fists clenched.

I watch the clock. The clock ticks loud;
it tells me it’s time we talk, but I’m used
to silence. I take cue from Gal — stick
my thumb in between my lips and move
it in; out.

What is subtle?
Subtle is an order.
Orders are loud

when spoken into


Liat Miriam currently lives in Harlem, after spending time in Israel, Colorado, North Carolina, and around New York state. When not writing, she enjoys meeting dogs and eating hummus. For more, check out her twitter @itsliat.

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