The Deaf Way
II Anthology: A Literary Collection by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers
Tonya M. Stremlau, Editor
Christopher Jon Huer
She stuffed her guilt
into turkeys, and deep into the
branches of Christmas trees.
This was my mother,
frantic for the next holiday,
her entire life the preparation
for an occasion. Her fingers
were delicate in manipulation
of the crystal dove ornaments
that hung from silver
garlands on our doors and windows.
Her pies rose like angels
with trumpets; her tableware
and china were immaculate.
“See our home,” said her home.
Our living room was a cover
from McCall’s, a defiant testament
of love for her family that radiated
like a flaming Yule log. Paying tribute
was a toast, the undoing of a fine
silk ribbon around a card.
Blow out the candles, eat some
cake! This is my son, the poet-
philosopher! My son speaks “sign
language!” I’m trying to learn! Her
smiles were frosted on like white
icing, her hands whirring noisemakers.
Our conversations were hidden in
containers of New Years sweet
potatoes and hot muffins, dependent
upon holiday formality that
our true feelings would not carry through
a silence broken only by the usual
obligational laughter, around
roasted ducks and polished bottles
of homemade Thanksgiving wine.
Her words were invitations within
gold envelopes, formally reminding
me of dates for dinners that I would not
attend. The writing sounded like an
“I do” at a wedding, which was nothing
more, really, than a cue to weep.