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Jul 2017
so keen were his senses he could
discern differences in grains of sand,
hear gulls' calls long before others, and
recall the number of footprints
he left on his stretch of beach

yet he spoke not a word
since she passed, stolen from him
by a fever he felt from across the room,
while others had to lay hands
on her to know

the doctor would come
and go, whispering words to his father,
not realizing the boy could hear: "typhoid"
lay in his lexicon along with "suffering"
and "death"

then the priest and prayer
too late for the woman--there
for the father, son, and her ghost;
beguiling words like "comfort"
and "eternal life"

the boy did not reveal
being mute was of his volition
allowing less sentient beasts to believe
his silence was a manner to grieve
"ruse" he also knew

months did pass, and the
others implored him to speak;
he would return again and again
to his shore, where he heard
wings and winds and more

but there no creature
asked for his tongue to move;
his naked feet in the surf were enough
and when his tears wedded the waters
the sea made not a sound
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