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Paul Hostovsky

  

Birdsong

The hands of the deaf
flitting
from sleeve to sleeve
this evening
happy
to be among
themselves
free
of the heavy
silence
of the trees
which are everywhere
the same
lack of movement
which is
what silence is
to the eyes
darting
hungrily
day after day
seeing
in the least leaf-
tremble
a sign
of sympathy
a same
song repeating
itself
to itself
all day in the huge
buildings
of the trees
waiting
listening
for the first
sweet
singing
response

 

 

A Christmas Song

A deaf mother
gives to her daughter
who is not deaf
a telephone
for Christmas
and watches
as the dilating vowel of happiness
rings out
from the daughter's open mouth
and it looks to the mother
like singing
the eyes widening
the mouth opening
the hands signing
thank you
thank you

from the mouth
which is holding the note
which is ringing out
all across
the neighborhood

 

 

After Milton

When I consider how I played trombone
in grade school band, how I couldn't smile and play
at the same time, yet couldn't keep from smiling
as the band squeaked and sawed our one out of tune
tune, how my pucker split, then splayed,
how my lips and ears swam up to the ceiling,
how my smile blew down that perfect house of air
that housed the music, and the music ran off, and there

I sat, making no sound but going through all
the motions, sliding slide, bobbing bell,
head and feet moving to the music, all
but the music, and none who saw could tell—
then I think my contribution was no less equal:
They also sing who only sit and smile.

  

Paul Hostovsky has poems in Poet Lore, New Delta Review, Shenandoah, Carolina Quarterly, and others. He has two poetry chapbooks, Bird in the Hand (Grayson Books, 2006), and Dusk Outside the Braille Press (Riverstone Press, 2006). He works in Boston as an interpreter for the deaf.

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