The Word for Loss is Missing

Times are dark, right after the presidential election, so here’s a fun poem about the horrors of colonialism.

I usually write speculative poetry, but this poem is based very much in fact. One of the particularly malignant things about colonialism is the way colonizers rob the colonized of their very language. The language of the colonized is almost always actively repressed, and is often made outright illegal. This leads to the tragic loss of the language, either wholly or in part. This poem was inspired by the fact that Yiddish is a dying language, and the method of reconstruction used in the later verses is an actual method used by linguists – I became aware of it in the documentary “We Still Live Here”, about attempts to reconstruct and save the language of the Wampanoag tribe here in Massachusetts.

“The Word for Loss is Missing” appeared in Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry in November 2016.


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