The Lost Indigenous Language of Colombia

by Aisha Mango Borja

The words we lost sit in the beaches
and mountains and often get caught up
in fishing nets like rounded starfish
that stick to your hands like Velcro
their legs embedded in the palm
of your hand. I’m sure there was
a word for that, but not anymore.

Or words caught in the city between two men
selling coconuts for the same price moving
the brightly coloured carts up and down
like warring peacocks while a little boy sits
on the corner with flavoured ice in his hands
staining his tongue blue from the dye. I’m sure
there was a word for that, but not anymore.

And motorbikes whizzing round corners
as if road safety was just something
we hear about form neighbours or cousins,
a social myth, until they crash and kiss
their life goodbye but before you know it
they are back and biking again. I’m sure
there was a word for that, but not anymore.

They lay in words in ‘farms’, the kind of farm
that’s a jungle, the farm that has a shed
filled with kids and kids, animals and we lie
in hay, horns like bones remind the children
what the goats are there for: for love
and smiles and family and soup. I’m sure
there was a word for that, but not anymore.

Not anymore.