Trapped in thoughts like punctuations between sentences.
Yet certain my contributions will clear the air,
invite intriguing conversations with my fellow travelers
on this train ride, during my visit to Morocco, my first home.
They must have guessed I now live abroad,
am an outsider— my Gap shirt is too white.
As if doubly bleached,
plus it stands out in contrast to the colors around.
They will shortly conclude
I reside in an English speaking country,
for I will let escape the inevitable ok, the affirmative yeah,
and the convenient wow as I nod in agreement.
My Mother’s tongue buried deep somewhere.
Despite my careful selection of words,
I struggle to finish a thought.
Rusty as I am, I need warming up.
Outmatched and out of practice;
no matter my precautions, traces of rough
edges float in my speech, a betrayal.
I will come across as calculating, may be preaching.
They will inevitably ask: where are you visiting from?
America— immediately prompting eyebrows to rise.
A vacationer, a gringo. Will they dismiss my ideas?
Or pretend to be impressed?
Not really, they genuinely smile, and flood me with questions.