La Lengua de mi Madre // Mother Tongue

by Suzanne Hermanoczki

Letter by letter, on the litter of another language I have stopped the torrent of grief and jouissance that would have been the end of me had I written in my mother tongue. Mother. Mater. Matter.
(Dominique Hecq, Hush: A Fugue)

          Mother. Moth. Her.                                         Tongue. Tung. Tuh. Ng.

                                 She. He.           Tonne

                                             Here! H[EAR]!       Née.


¡Mamá!                               ¡Madre querida de mi corazón!

Maman       Mad. Ray.

                                Light. Sun. Son.                                 He died. Il est mort. Je suis désolée.

                                Rey. Reí.

Drunk         (The mad) King.  Laughed.

                                                                        Ha! Off with her head!


[Suzanne Hermanoczki is a writer and teacher of creative nonfiction and fiction. Many of her works centre on: death narratives and photography, trauma and the immigrant journey, code-switching and bi-cultural identity. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne, where she teaches.]