In the tin-can-string-tin-can

contraption, you speak

 

fluent Mandarin; I hear

a dead language

 

chiseled into stone

tablets dissolving

 

beneath the Red Sea.

Before the ER doc

 

removes her surgical mask

to pronounce us “we did

 

everything we know

how to do,” I take up this

 

rummage sale sax, blow

quarter notes marked

 

by redwing blackbirds

arranged on phone wires

 

lining our street. If you

can hear me, blink

 

once for yes, twice for no.

 

 

 

Cheryl Dumesnil
Cheryl Dumesnil is the author of a collection of poems, In Praise of Falling, and a memoir, Love Song for Baby X. With Kim Addonizio she co-edited the anthology Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Filed under: Poetry

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