6pm Reading, St. Anthony Hall

There is no curtain for the heart
In a room full of poets. Each face maps
Its suffering, its lust with lines
As subtle as mountain ranges.

The sign language translator exaggerates
For his single subject. He rolls his eyes,
Fans his fingers, captures the nerves
As well as the words.

The day draws to a close. Light
Is blue, green, white. Shadows dissolve
And reform with every dusted moment. The speaker
Dabs at his eyes, clutches his throat.

His voice says roller skates, chaperon
But nobody’s father.
Whether he is overcome or near to,
The hot currents of emotion
Will not leave him dry.

He is washed again and again against
The rocks of sorrow, and the hollow shell
Of his voice calls back.

photograph by Manish Desai

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