Pay attention, she says, to relationships—
how the hands convey meaning in degrees
of proximity to the body. With my index
finger, I point to my chin, tip touching
a dimple I feel but no one sees, and touch
the rest of my fingers. to sign miss her,
I twist my wrist and point to an empty
place, as if the daughter I never birthed
had been there, swaddled, smelling delicate.
If I intend disappointed, I hold my hand
in position and think about an attempt
to make papier-maché solar system
with my son who has no focus for crafts
or spoken words. How quickly one sign slides
into another, a student says. Everyone nods.
To signify bitter, my brain need only to dwell
in this hollow, thin-skinned space, my hand
to tighten into a fist.
* * *