Bio Note: Born HOH and adopted in Luxembourg, I grew up with a deaf twin sister in Europe and the United States, and wrote for a national newspaper for the Deaf. My poetry chapbook about my experiences, entitled Seeing Voices: Poetry in Motion, is forthcoming (Kelsay Books, 2022). My poems and artwork last year appeared in more than two dozen literary publications. I also review for a literary magazine dedicated to making visible the artistic expressions of sexual violence survivors.
You kept a rusty Bugs Bunny tin of marbles in our bedroom on the shelf you thought I couldn’t reach because you dreamt they might be worth something Someday. I found one under your bed this morning when I was clearing out Mom’s house and your side of the room exactly as you had left it. An abandoned, cerulean-blue glassy cat’s eye stared at me lifelessly from the dark corner of the rectangular outline — darker than the rest of the Brazilian cherry wood floor — that the sun had never touched. I reached for it. Cool — almost chilled — it was, by the absence of life-giving rays. Smooth, in its betraying lack of indentations. It was weightier than I had expected. My fingertips caressed it, gently at first; then with increasing pressure, earnestly hoping to infuse it with life. I wanted it to see me and be happy to be found. But it didn’t know that it had been lost and could not find joy in the moment. Like you. With the cerulean, glassy stare you gave me when I found you in your bed when you were sixteen. You didn’t know that one to match lay on the wooden floor beneath you. I recalled the time that I spilled your collection and how the clatter roused you from a lazy Sunday nap. I froze in place and shivered, anticipating your ire. You considered me with cerulean compassion, a golden lock matted against your forehead. And you laughed silver strands of grace at me. I didn’t know the last time I laughed with you would be the last time I laughed with you, until it was. I nestled the marble in my palm and put it in my pocket. It was worth something.
Originally published in The Purpled Nail
I am Deaf. My fingers speak. A coiffed paintbrush in my grasp, my voice streaks turquoise and magenta across a parched canvas. Vowels coo through thirsty linen. Click-clacking keys with my mother tongue, I chew hard consonants and spit them out. Sour, a scathing sonnet can be at dusk. Fingertips pave slick exclamations, punctuated by nails sinking low into clamminess. I sculpt hyperboles.
Originally published in Stone Poetry Journal
©2022 Kelly Sargent
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