Even to the Deaf

We lived in the “round-the-bend” home,
where the street wound downward
and the stick-shifts would slither by
neutral,
silent like the wake of wind
breaking on the sidewalk.

When Ma came rushing out
to my wailing distress signal,
she found the neighbor’s Chevy
desperately kissing
the ancient oak across the street,
or at least
that’s the version she told me years later.

She told me that I’m
“not like other children,”
that I’m
“different;”
and I never understood why
she told me this crying,
but I knew better than to question;
I just loved to read her hands,
graceful,
even in sorrow.
That was ten years ago,
and my hands still whisper
the memories of Mama.

I like to place my hands
on windows when it rains,
close my eyes and imagine
that an orchestra would sound
something like this,
but I doubt anything could compare
to Mama’s singing.
I never heard her sing,
but when she did,
she’d embrace me with those arms
and her neck,
would cup the top of my head,
and my skin,
would fall in love with her vibrato.
As every note held cradled me,
saved me,
from something I knew not,
I thought that this must’ve been
how angels sing.
She told me that it was,
“Amazing Grace.”

Now I’ve learned to read
other foreign hands,
and still none look more beautiful
than Mama’s.

“No, no!
You’re doing it all wrong.
You’re tainting our language!”

But how could I expect you
to understand?
You,
who can still hear
your mother’s voice.
You,
who can still hear
her singing…

So tonight,
I’m hugging the speaker,
clutching it’s diaphragm,
searching for a frequency
closest to Mama’s heart beat
and hoping
that she’ll live again,
hoping
to fall in love again,
hoping to feel someone’s
amazing grace…

I’m hoping to hear,
something,
anything,
in this silence,
for I’m tired of it being
so deafening.

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