Both Travel as Waves

The last word
appears suddenly, strikes
like lightning
without any thunder
no matter
how long I count.

Hunger Bay

A food strike
won’t bring back
the words he lost

in mystery’s high
tide. Non-verbal
communication is

an art she hopes
to learn before nothing
washes ashore.

On Clemens Road Again

Who offers
an app for saying
good-bye without
uttering a sound? Secrets

are sometimes so loud
she doesn’t pay
attention. Misses
the easy

ones. She understands
the hardened silence too well.

Clemens Road

I get lost
on my walk
to see you
in your lost

state. Boiled down
to a translucent film
at the bottom
of a pot, what’s left

will be our eyes
and our hands. They speak
a language
of truth.

Knock Three Times

A case of grinding
teeth as if
to shout out:

“I’m still alive!”

A strained ankle
for no reason—could be
misspelled. Those whispers

could mean it’s time to play

dead or to move
farther down river
before the quiet descends again.

Yesterday’s Treasure

If I concentrate
on the color
I might wear
out tomorrow, I could forget

my father is
a hoarder. Even now, tubes
of ChapStick (without
microphones), rolls

of toilet paper, stacks
of Hershey bars (dark
chocolate without
nuts) surround him.

Whoever stole his stash
of words
isn’t talking.

Aphasia Part II

A lifelong conversation winds
around the trunks
of bare trees. She’s left
to support his silence
so he won’t fall

down the rabbit hole. The one
she can’t peer into for fear
she might like
what she sees. Might not ask
for help again.

Wellington Place

After all these years, all
you have said, you’re still

of him. He has only a few
words left. They won’t hurt. Rarely did.
It was the ones 

he threw at those around you.
To be so privileged
can be a burden. In his weakened 

state, new hip just beginning to settle
into the mechanism that is
what’s left 

of his life, why
this fear? Yes,
you’re losing him 

the way we all lose
one another. There are no guarantees,
no ultimate reprieves. This is a slow burn 

singe around your original
edges. No way comes without terror.
Whose? Yours? His? 

All of those others?
With the spoken
language disintegrated, 

what’s left is this raw
love. You must look it
in the eye. Don’t turn 

your head off his
steady gaze. Remember,
who he is.

Clutching Tags

Aphasia is anonymous
in its demand
that poems be 

without words.
I’m not ready to give 

mine up. The wave
of an ampersand 

ropes them in
just in time.