I took a Test of English as a
Foreign Language, even though it is
more my own than any other I speak.
“But it’s not your mother tongue,
the language your mother speaks.”
My mother, in her fragmented tongues,
taught me English with her fragmented lips.
“When did you start learning English?”
I started when everyone does;
My first language is the first words
I called my Mummy and Papa with:
English, Hindi and Bangla, three of
“But you only know academic English!”
India and it’s English tongue,
neither of them existed before we
learnt academic English, the Queen’s tongue.
This fragmented country speaks
English among these fragments
just happens to be one.
Please, we have had enough TOEFLs
for our mothers have many tongues.