define:us

i try to name you
to explain myself
when i should
just accept
that for now
you are here
and i am glad

affirmation

chaah? chaah! chaah.
i have a problem with chaah,
not the idea, just the word
the feminine gendered “yes”
that i was taught to use
the way my brothers were
instructed to say bhaat

as many times as i’ve spoken it,
saying chaah never became
second nature, the way it
was supposed to tumble out
in response to questions and
statements and… everything else

instead, there is hesitation
a moment’s consideration
a weighing of its necessity
before i retreat to using less
traditional, formal, polite
english versions like “yes”
and “yea” and “yep” or the
universal “huh?” and “uh huh”

chaah reminds me too much
of a little two-year-old girl
her toddler’s voice imprinted
on a scratchy audio cassette
answering her proud father
each time he calls her name
T-… T-… T-…
chaah. chaah. chaah.

it is the verbal reminder
of promises unkept