What a Deaf Republic Chose to Hear

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A deaf republic can’t afford

to sit on its hands,


killing its sign language

in willful silence,

 

letting memory erase

the fear and the truth.

 

The disease existed.

The shrouds too.

 

Concrete does not

pave over the blood.

 

A stroll in the park

does not tamp the pain.

 

The Punch and Judy show

is but the pantomime

for the forgetful.

 

The only sound heard

is the singing of

marionette strings

 

culled from a pile

of burnt violins.

 

When the air turns

khaki and violent,

the crowd disperses,

 

their hands in their pockets

signing and forming words.

 

In a silent closet at home,

the last parents teach

their children to sign.

 

The children sign

to the doors, windows,

the grass, the trees, the sky

 

anything with

the shapes of ears

before ears were banned.