Friday, January 30, 2009


Walking back to the car I saw a woman I remembered. Settled, with flaky orange hair, drooping features. Her name was Aisha and she had been in my sign language class. The class had been taught by a fantastic, sincere guy named Mo whose parents had both been Deaf. Most of the students were there trying to escape oral language courses, with the three notable exceptions. There was a couple, a worried brunette named Elaine and her partner, a sweet-eyed, intelligent Iranian; he was going deaf. And there was Aisha, who was going deaf too. She was in her thirties and she spoke almost normally, but she couldn't say her R's, and it made me wonder if losing the ability to hear also lost you the ability to distinguish between R's and W's.

Once, in class, we'd been talking about the pros and cons of cochlear implants and she had spoken up in her funny crippled voice, said she was considering getting one but she was undecided, she was "scaiwed shitless," and there had been a sort of stabbed silence, all these home-schoolers and hipsters too cool for Spanish and older people trying to pick up another skill and me, a high school junior with half an aptitude for language and half a desire to listen to that exotic voice of people with no voice, all of us sucking in a little, unable to imagine sound growing duller each day, the big chunky plastic hearing aid palpably less effective than it was, the workings of entropy spelled out in the gradual obvious muting of the world....

I saw her crossing the street, her movements impenetrable, unrevealing. I could not know if she had chosen to get the implant. Irreversible, unlike any decisions I had yet to make. Me, still unbetrayed by my curious body.

On the way home I drove along the cliffs, twenty miles per hour. I was driving a different car, and I was still unused to the engine's quiet. The sea was exquisite, shimmery, echoing a periwinkle dome, rippling with light, opalescent. And the sky just above it was tinted orange. I drove and looked and felt like I would die of beauty.

And within meters and moments it had changed. The orange had faded peach and the contrast was lesser and death was postponed, again.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Mixed-up trees stepping in orange leaves,
Skin blessed with affectionate breezes;
Blues, greens, warms, silk feathers,
A crime to drive in this weather;
Bright shadows, flown smiles, limbs bared,
If global warming takes me this peaceful way,
I won't revolt, I will obey.