When a man who was nearly deaf became my lover,
I knew there were words I would never utter again.
Some were too short to penetrate. Others would take
too long to spell out. We who need ten synonyms
for everything, so we can choose the most precise but
unexpected one. I knew whenever I’d speak to him
I’d have discourse left for arguments with myself.
Whether it is better to keep a conditional silence
or to quarrel and reconcile in erroneous accord.
Whether it is possible for two people to bind love
out of shackles and breath stops, patched messages
propelled like shrapnel through skin and flesh,
so that it is the feel that lasts, not just the language,
but the missed, the misinterpreted, the whispered.
I want to say I love you again to someone who might
grow old beside me. Say it until we become wordless.