Academic journal article Social Alternatives

Me. You. Us

Academic journal article Social Alternatives

Me. You. Us

Article excerpt

There are twenty-seven young Afghan men

that come to our makeshift school

in the afternoon.

At first I battle to tell them apart;

the Mohammeds, Alis and Ali Rezas.

Today is their third day

the guard brings me three

sixteen- and seventeen-year-old boys.

We sit in the demountable

by the whir of an ancient air conditioner.

On the window painted wire

forms thin bars.

We look at

letter sounds and names

pronouns, proper nouns, conjunctives.

They are struggling

to form the 'n' sound, so I show them

a little self-consciously

how my tongue is positioned

behind my teeth.

The students try,

furrow their brows and try again

until the strange task

has us eye to eye, laughing

in one language. …

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