As a child

because my voice was not the right voice
and could not be understood I stood
before the mirror — a murky glassen word
this mouth can’t shape right to this day — and was made
to watch my teeth and lips being imprecise.
So this is why I come across a Southron
and not from Yorkshire, or Sri Lankan; but I’ll complain
no more about this clarified and potent tongue

for when the moustached gent at US Customs
asked me in his hapless twang
are you a terrorist, my borrowed posh it sure
abashed that poor colonial; and it was of course
what my child-face perceived or could not in the glass
which made of me a scrutineer of sound,
a listener for and into every glitch
in the aathma, the script, the avid void of English.