Motherhood Literature + Art

To NOT Know You is Still to Love You by Alana Ruben Free

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I want to share with you my story.
But none of the sentences make it to the page.
You see, I have fled from my mother tongue—
abandoned my voice.
I have fallen in love with a new vocabulary,
words I am yet to understand.
Gutteral, unpronounceable words.

In English, this new story would lack authenticity,
my love sound shallow.
Hebrew is the language of my heart.
I long for each word that I cannot say.
I put on the radio, and whether I understand or not, I feel revived by its rhythm.
New worlds and languages, even after all the brutality, can be born.

Nothing kills absolutely.
I no longer think of the 1/3 who never made it out of Europe, the six million.
I think about the 2/3 who survived.
I think about the 600,000 in 1948 who created a new language
that now seven million speak.
Modern Hebrew turned my worldview upside down.
I can’t speak it well, but I can feel it.

Will I ever fall in love in English again?


alana-ruben-freeAlana Ruben Free is a poet, dramatist and a relational artist. Her works include Beginner at Life, Fear & Desire, Black Fire/White Fire, and Presence=Present. She is the former co-founder/editor of The Mom Egg. She moved to Israel in 2013.


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