Lacan's writings show how an unconscious and decentred discourse parallels conscious narration and imbues it with the voice of the Other. A decentred and tropical discourse enables Barthes to write autobiography in the guise of fiction. Barthes' work foregrounds the discourse of the Other while also deconstructing the text. 'Alabaster' embeds poetry in a Lacanian matrix at a point in time when I lost my mother tongue. The oedipal connotations of the words 'embed' and 'matrix' are obvious, as is the fact that Lacan's formulation of the Law refer to the constituting agency of the Father. What happens, then when the speaker's filiation shifts to another language and when the form she chooses is poetry rather than the straightforward prose that has the imprimatur of the Law? 'Alabaster' combines poetry and theory to scrutinise the lining of the voice at the moment of learning to speak again in another language and uncovers paler shades of white in the guise of a semblance.