For Joseph

by Dale Harcombe

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

Last updated May 02, 2015