Sign Language

By Asha Dore

September 15, 2014

Sign Language

The motion of the body. Exchange of truths. Listening without the ears. Telling without the mouth. My daughter points to her chin and signs, my favorite then points to a moth that bumbles through the air on the other side of the sliding glass door. When the moth lands on the door, she moves toward it. She presses her hand on its glass. Wing against wing. The words she will fling through the twitch of her knuckles, the clasp of her palms, the flap of her wrists. Years and years of words, of stories that reach past hearing, past telling. Stories that reach into the skin.

While other babies say bababa lalala more more more, she turns toward the space words can never enter: a life inside of a body and a body inside of a life. Not a howl. Not a moan. Not even a song.

Cool glass against her fingertips, she turns to look at me. Outside, the moth opens and closes its wings. She mimics this motion with her hands - the sign for book. She presses her face hard on the glass like she could swim through the clear membrane, through all the spaces and lines that divide bodies, all bodies, our stories, our invisible differences.

Outside the glass, the moth flutters, waiting for her to move through the glass, to lift her wrists so it can land, safe in the stories of her hands.


Photo "Pearly Wood Nymph Moth - Eudryas unio" provided by Richard Crook, via Flickr creative commons license.

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