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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Aspirations to Adhere

It’s 5:27 am
and this draft
wants nothing more
than to drag itself slowly
up
my
spine,
tap my shoulder
and whisper lies these
lost satin sheets
tell a little more subtly.
My hand
slides across the bed, blindly
in search of your skin
to splice with mine
only to find you
already gone.

The alarm
sets itself singing
to the tunes of nuisance
for the fourth time.
As the snooze in me drains
my adrenaline spikes;
the rush
is on.

By the time I get downstairs
my hair’s haphazardly parted,
my tie’s in more knots than it should be,
you’re drinking the last cup of coffee
and our daughter’s eating
“What in the world is that?!?”
I tell her to put it down,
hustle to the fridge and apparently
shelves are the only thing
on the breakfast menu.

You make a clever remark,
it catches me off guard
and our offensive words
are fencing unmasked,
suddenly hasting towards
a mate to check
as we hurl them off our chests.
The kitchen
has reached its melting point;
and our love
is quickly evaporating,
‘til all that remains
is wisps of what we once were.

Remembering our child’s presence
we pause
and assume adulthood again.
She’s kneeling on the chair
and her arms, like tender stems
seem to sway effortlessly
as she busies herself
with a puzzle.
Seizing our silence
she stops to say:
“When I grow up,
I want to be glue.”
Perplexed, we begin to see
the image emerge ‘neath her palms.
“I want to be
what holds these pieces together
forever and ever.”
Placing the last piece down,
she looks up at us
and smiles.
It was our marriage photo,
torn and bent,
seemingly un-mendable.
Taking each of our thumbs
she said,
“I want to be
what makes mommy and daddy
one big puzzle again.”