Her hands speak language he has no trouble with

Habit makes him put     music on
she can't hear,      although she lays
her hands upon a     speaker to feel
the first thrust     of Mozart's 29th
vibrate like her     satisfied cat.
That morning     they'd walked among
the lilies in     late bloom, gold cups
raised above     October's astonished dross,
the scene     so clustered with
surprise     she'd bent each word around
her tongue     and he'd only frowned,
covered her     lips with his, embarrassed
for her, though     she wasn't. It's after lunch
so he pours Dewar's     that goes untouched,
glass beading sweat     as they make love,
sweating, on the black     leather couch,
a red pillow propped     beneath her
so shoulders and knees     squeak their silken
leather rhythm. He'd     asked her to sign
"yes, yes" or "more,"     something to say
he's doing all right,      as if without words
there'd be no way of     knowing. How can she?
Why? Her hands speak     language he has no
trouble with, her moans     those of any woman,
though musically slurred     like a 45 played
at 33 rpm. Because she's     deaf, he says things
he never had while making     love, alternately
genteel and foul. She cracks     her lids
just wide enough to read his     lips and thus
conducts her own arrangement.      She holds her hands
on his throat and chest to feel     their music
strummed wilder than Mozart's.      It's symphony
for hand and eye she plays.      He wants to tell her
when he's reached the point of     no return,
but signing, his fingers lock     and his tongue, too,
so his struggle brings its     blessing and curse,
plural as sex, and what     comes from his throat
wrenches free of language,      taking him with it.
A word? No, nothing she'd     read on anyone's lips,
a creaking she felt but didn't     hear, some colossal
gate unhinged for purple-robed     priests to march through,
torches high, and bid him welcome     to her kingdom.

[Kevin Stein, 'What Language Makes of Us' from Bruised Paradise: Poems]

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