LEARNING TO SIGN
If I speak with the tongues
of men and angels,
the Deaf will not hear me.
Theyíll shake their heads,
No, I donít understand.
If I reach out with awkward, arthritic hands,
my arms, my heart, can enter
where tongues cannot go. It is slow,
I think and speak like a child.
I make the sign of a long beard.
Me. Old. Me. A kidís fist nods Yes.
We laugh. When I was her age, I put
my blind ear against a radio,
craving vibration juddering my head.
Sirens. Fireworks. My fatherís voice
booming. My feet found a pulse in shuddering
ground. Now I dance with a dark-eyed Deaf girl
as we fingerspell L-o-n-d-o-n B-r-i-d-g-e.