My Own Beethoven

His fingers won’t tell me
how he lost his voice
as if the words piling up
and struggling on his tongue
are not that important.

When he taps his right ear
with the measured lightness
of his hunched forefinger,
he’s not really saying
how he lost the sound.

I’ve never misunderstood
the fast language of his hands;
his eyes quietly explain
anything that baffles me,
and he uses his lips to agree.

Now it’s my turn to be mum
about the loss of light,
so he won’t silently worry;
I’m getting blinder each day
from something without cure.

Before we go to bed at night,
I close my eyes to study him:
the shaking of his throat,
his mouth attempting to move,
and the hush of his skin.

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