When mother tongue is villain, are you person or correction? When God and mother are both concerned with safety, but neither with voice, does safety exist? What Akosua Zimba Afiriyie-Hwedie does in Born in a Second Language (Button Poetry), is ponder whether or not language actually removes culture from the familial lifeline. Or worse, your own.
If communication is the gateway to understanding, that both mother tongue and second-language would act as antagonist makes is heartbreaking and overwhelming and beautiful at the same time. Afiriyie-Hwedie breathes the push-and-pull struggle to find oneself amongst words that will never fit their own, yet will always be corrected in a language that doesn’t make any sense. Because “whereas all languages are equal, some are more equal than others. Whereas English is Standard. Whereas not all English is acceptable standard. Whereas “good” English is more acceptable than others”.
It’s here the reader searches for identity within a duality that seems to exist even outside of the idea of language; can one truly exist in a system that was always built for failure? This chapbook asks each reader to understand themselves within a translation – within the subjectivity of language.