Tsering Wangmo Dhompa
This wor(l)d as an illusion                  (page 2)

Bark was a noun and bark was a verb. Mrs. Shepherd made us use the word in a sentence. Writing the word made it palpable. Bark was placed as I was within the slow forming and nebulous maze of the English language with its simple and complex sentences and its odd symbols of comma, question mark, and full stop indicating a constructed reality of things and their names. I spent my first year in school dizzily making my way into the sounds and shapes of this new language through a circuitous route translating Tibetan into Hindi and finally into English or the other way around. Corridor, hot-cross bun, sunrise, punishment, prayer, homesick. I learned the meaning of words by guessing their relationship to other words in a sentence.

So if I say a word does not offer me security as a sentence does, I refer to that early study of language where singular words revealed themselves in relation to other words. That once employed in a sentence, words became familiar to me, more locatable like the Tibetan elders of my childhood who could be trusted to lift cups of sweet tea to their lips every day, at three in the afternoon.

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