Losing Español

Spanish vanished when you did, and today
my mouth lives with a tongue grown restless.
It grazes my palate, searches for the melody

in bienvenida, alegria, querida, misses the eyé
in llave, the pirouetting R’s in ferrocarril,
carretera, the ‘enyæ’ in niño. What happened

to the ‘e’s dangling like fishhooks off the ends
of lumbre, baile, podré, caminaré? They are gone.
My mouth hungers for them and I wonder,

Do ‘shoes’ cover less ground than zapatos?
Why does lluvia seem wetter than rain?
And what happened to words that sound

like what they mean? Andale. On our way.
Vamonos. Let’s go! Where have they gone?
They’ve marched off, wended their way

into yesterday when I awoke to mañanas
sabor a café and outside our kitchen window
the birds tweeted pio pio.