listening underwater

Our voices disappear, behind
turned heads, within
darkened rooms, under
running water, and among
the hum of crowds, until
your world becomes
a scratchy out of tune radio station
where you fill in the blanks
and pretend to sing along
smiling a nod.

At We Write Poems this week, a prompt of mine set the stage. Poets watched documentaries and wrote a poem from their viewing. Visit We Write Poems for a closer look at the prompt and other takes on it.

Process Notes:
My daughter TL is deaf. On Netflix TL and I watched the movie, See What I’m Saying: The Deaf Entertainers Documentary. Wow. TL performs with a group called EOS, Expressions of Silence. A group of hard of hearing and deaf children with a brilliant reputation, they perform songs in sign language at many venues throughout the school year. TL’s performances bring people to tears, she becomes the music, the words…she gives them life. My daughter is a star! 🙂

The movie follows four deaf adults through pieces of their lives as both deaf people, and as deaf entertainers. For us, it was a highly engaging movie. One of the four adults is TL Forsberg, a rock star from Toronto. She has beautiful speech, like my TL. Their beautiful speech and engaging personalities cause many people to think that they hear far more than they do. This piece came from the descriptions both TLs provide about communication.

I like the piece, but it makes me feel sad. “Our voices” and “your world” sets up tension. I almost pulled the “our” out of the piece, but there really are “two worlds” so I left it in the poem. How about all of those prepositions at the end of lines? To me, it makes the list prominent.

Miriam and Adolfo

8o years defined them
birth through today,
Miriam and Adolfo,
the act that stole the stage.
From the time that they could toddle,
from the time that they could crawl,
Miriam and Adolfo
impressed the crowds one and all.

Through their intertwining eyes,
there was no need for other.
Miriam and Adolfo
pantomimed each other.
From the time that they could twirl,
from the time that they could tap,
Miriam and Adolfo
lived their lives enwrapped.

This picture marks the morning,
this picture marks the day,
Miriam and Adolfo
knew their life would change.
From the time that they shared pleasure,
from last month’s pas de dues
Miriam and Adolfo
knew a miracle baby grew.

They named the shecub Melanie
her roar surpassed her father’s
Melanie was the first of the pair’s
humana-ursaline daughters.
From the time that she could toddle
from the time that she could crawl
Melanie the Marvel
wow’d the crowds one and all.

The final five shebears came at once
stars that dot the midnight blue,
Miriam and Adolfo
gave birth to a brand new crew.
From the time that they could toddle,
from the time that they could crawl
Melanie and the Marvels
thrilled the crowds one and all.


In the picture Miriam looks uncertain, perhaps burdened with something, and Adolfo looks to be comforting her. From that along with the bed as a setting, I decided that they just discovered her pregnancy, her uncertainty is born from wondering about the offspring, and the world’s acceptance of it.

My intent in writing it was to practice the repetition that you hear in oral story telling. In the second stanza I hear “enrapt” when I read it, but used “enwrapped” so I could keep both meanings in the piece for myself.

Thank you to We Write Poems for the picture prompt. Visit to read more words inspired by the picture.