The dog wants her to pet him.
He jumps onto her lap, puts his face against hers,
tries to tuck his head under her hands.
But she’s trying to speak to the man across the table,
and she needs her hands to speak.
Sign language and a sunny day and a straw hat-
And I can watch them because I’m on the other side of a tinted window,
though only five feet away-
But I might as well be sitting at their table,
the eavesdropping would be the same.
Watching their hands- hearing nothing except maybe the dog’s whimpering for affection.
I don’t know what they’re talking about,
but they embrace and smile as they part
and I wish I too could speak with my hands,
Wish I had infinite languages in my hands-
So I’d never have to struggle for words.
I struggle for words
But more, I struggle for meaning
To know what I really want,
Want to say,
Want to be known,
Want to know.
Would it be easier with my hands?
Or would I still bark and whimper like the little dog-
Getting in people’s way as they try to communicate with one another-
and I try to be held-
“See me, see me
I’m here too.
I have no language like yours.”
Currents, May 2017
11 hours ago