ESL

I LEAVE at HOME
concerns about split infinitives,
dangling participles and
subject-verb disagreements

and the eye that spots
from across the room
and before anyone asks,
misplaced commas
and breaches of capitalization rules.

And Dickens. Yes. He stays back, too.
We will not have page-long paragraphs
comprised of a single sentence
with a dozen dependent clauses,
much as I may love them.
We will not be searching for antecedents.

No, this is seats-of-the-pants
language training,
where, when a refugee learns to say
“Bathroom, where?”
“In pain, me. Go see doctor.”
“How much?”
we hear success.
The finer points will be tended to down the road somewhere.

This is not work for elitists.
Sticklers for form need not apply.
Lovers of people, yes.


This poem stems from a prompt from TSPoetry. The challenge was to write a poem that catalogs a variety of words from a specific field.

About Marilyn

Reading, thinking, listening, writing and talking about faith, creativity, ESL for refugees, grief and finding the story in a story. Student of Spanish. Foe of procrastination. Cheez-it fan. People person with hermit tendencies or vice-versa. Thank you so much for reading.
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