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Valerie N. Hunt
For the Few
This is for the few slipping beneath the gaze of the naked eye. I wish these
words to be heard, yet if you hear them I'll turn you away. This is for the
world to see. My words are meant for no other. It’s contradictory and I stand
corrected because I have never uttered a word not meant for your ears, never
penned a phrase not written for your eyes. This is for my eyes—my eyes, alone.
There is no word I speak that is solely for me. No syllable graces these lips,
stained with nicotine and tar that are for anyone to hear. I want you to hear.
I speak in the language of gesture and nuance. I say nothing in words. Words are
but long “i”s mingled with harsh consonants. There is no language that speaks
the song of the soul. These are my only words; my only fluent tongue. I do not
understand the words you speak. They flow past my ears in a haze of murky lake
water and I cannot grasp what it is you say until you look into my eyes. I don't
speak the language of words.
Words are all I have.
What did you mean when you said that thing with your eyes? Your eyebrows were
high, both of them. Was it in defiance? If so, in defiance of whom because I
said nothing with words that I recall—that I understood. It was with your body
drawn upright and high, your arms crossed upon your breast that you spoke those
words. Or were your shoulders rounded and your arms at your side? What did you
say? I don't speak the language of taut biceps and spent trapezii. I do not
understand. It wasn't that I wasn't listening. I was, with all of me. I think I
just missed what you said. I didn't understand. Your motions were fast and I
couldn't catch them all. You closed, folded in to hug yourself and I
misunderstood, I think. I think I thought you saw someone you weren't. I think I
thought a lot of things I don't understand because I couldn't understand when
you said “shoulders curled”.
That doesn't translate very well in my world.
It's the only language I speak. The words the body says way out loud when caught
off guard and spinning with the axis of the earth wedged firmly in the spine of
this moment, this time. That's my only language and maybe I didn't understand.
Maybe it got lost in the words because I don't understand the “s”s and the, "No,
I never said...." Because I'm not sure I would've heard. And maybe it's not
these ears after all. Maybe the holes in there don't matter because ASL is still
a language I don't speak. Maybe it's more than the guttural sounds of the brain
ticking off motions of the tongue and the thrumming of the larynx. Maybe it's
just that I don't quite get it when you don't speak with your soul standing way
out front, resting on your shoulder. Not that I don't understand why you don't
put it there. Foolish, it would be…I suppose. But what if it's always been some
language barrier between you and me, between “u” and “i”? I don't know what to
do with that other than say I only speak one language and it has no words. There
are no nouns and verbs in the sentences I speak. There are no abortive clauses
that leave us both wondering if I meant to finish a sentence or start a new one
because neither of us understand when I speak because every ounce of each word
is measured against the pound of the millisecond in the soul. So what did you
mean when you put your shoulders high? I know I heard you, I just didn't
understand. And how long ago was that? Last week? Last year? I can't quite
remember because memory is tied to words I don't know.
How many syllables are in red roses on a white sheet and striped sheets with
solid pillows? I can't count them because numbers mingled with words and that
makes them both infinite somehow. And two hundred forty-six years ago I looked
into your eyes and said something only we understood. I think it's time for me
to say it again…whatever it was that I said that we both, somehow, understood. I
think I remember it, now. It was this laugh we shared. Maybe there was a dolphin
swimming by or maybe it was just the moon playing tag with the sky.
Ours is a language where words don't exist. There is no need for shaky
translations from soul to English. No nouns, no verbs, no broken phrases when
we're trying to find words to wrap our mouths around. I hear everything and
perfectly in your smile. The whispering blink of your eye is a melody only I can
hear. The beating of your heart is the drum to which I dance. It's in your eyes
that I'm alive. It's from your skin that all the universes collide and I hear
the echo of my breath. I hear the voice of all the gods and goddesses of all the
lands in your laugh. With you, I need no ears. They're two superfluous flaps of
skin placed on a head I do not need, attached to flesh and bones that exist only
to carry this heart and house this soul which belong only to you. It is all
yours. I have no need for any of it without you to breathe life into it. We have
no need for "remember when" and "what if." We have lived this life and a
thousand others a million times and baby, I'd keep on living them with you until
Time fell to the ground and was carried away on a moonbeam dipped in honey.
When mountains stand in our way, I'll push them to the side. When oceans keep us
apart I'll take only one sip and our path will be dry. I know not the
limitations of mortality with you. With you, I live long beyond the days of Time
and it's in those moments when Time no longer exists and you're right here,
right next to me…that's when I know the bliss of the gods, taste the ambrosia of
myths, and fold back this body to become the sun.
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