Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “We Don’t Speak the Same Language” by Aspen Bullard. Bullard is a student at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. This is her debut publication.
I’m fluent in silence
Like the silence of my dorm room after my friends have all left for some party that has a crowd I’m afraid of stepping into
Like the brief silence of mind when I try to remember the last time my thoughts weren’t screaming and scrambled
Like the silence of my voice when I wanted to say no but I wanted him to love me more
I’m fluent in goodbyes
Like the goodbye you have to say when “I love you” isn’t enough anymore, because love can’t always hold 2 distanced people together, at least not when the distance is in heart and mind rather than in miles
Like the unspoken goodbye between old friends who have grown into new people and moved on with their lives
Like the goodbyes you say every day hoping they won’t be the last, or sometimes secretly praying that they will be
I’m fluent in what-ifs
Like what if my all-consuming need to please people is never satisfied and I’m left miserable in the process.
Like what if all of my hopes and dreams crash and burn right in front of me and I have to start from scratch.
Like what if one day everyone wakes up and sees me the way I see myself; Not good enough; Not strong enough; Not enough
Maybe you’re fluent in I love you’s
But remember I’m fluent in silence, goodbyes, and what-ifs
So forgive me if I can’t say it back
Poet's Notes: I wrote this poem to express the many insecurities I've felt throughout my life. Sometimes it is a struggle to explain things such as anxiety and depression to people who don't experience them, which for me is a kind of a language barrier. I hope this poem can break down that barrier a little and start a conversation.
Editor’s Note: It is a rare privilege to debut a poet. Songs of Eretz is honored to introduce Aspen Bullard to the public. Her poem reads like something Walt Whitman might have composed if he were an insecure girl. Bullard’s use of anaphora is masterful. I also enjoy the last stanza with its shorter lines, whether those lines are directly addressing the reader or a would-be lover of the speaker. I will certainly follow this poet’s career with great interest.