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For Joseph

by
 Your ears will never hear sounds
  that to me are ordinary as air.
From the hour that you were born the tight white shell of silence closed around you.
You edged away from friendship.
Silence clung and stung like sand, smothering words before they could break free.
Sand has a brittle sound as it stutters underfoot.
But you are no longer like sand.
Though your ears will still never hear, words gather, demanding as seagulls.
Now, you stretch wings towards the sky.
Glide closer to other lives.
Reach them with the rising tide of your imperfect speech.
*first published Westerly 1993 - Republished Central Western Daily January 12, 1996 recently republished in ‘On Common Water’ the Ginninderra 10th birthday anthology

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