My son does not have a lot of language, and

His older brother finds me in the laundry room,

Taking wet clothes out of the washing machine,

The arms and hearts of our shirts heavy, because

He is asking me, asking, when will he talk to me

And I tell him all the right things,

How his brother is talking, trying to anyway,

How every day there is another word, or how

Soon his words will string together,

Into the sentence he wants to hear.

How when they do, he can wear them,

His brother’s sentences, on his wrist

Like bracelets.

And I take him upstairs,

Where his brother is sleeping, and I show him,

What he already knows, how to listen, how to

Press his head against his brother’s head, and

Hear his words circulating inside his skull,

Like a shell, and

Later, when we are in bed, and it is

Dark, my husband asks me, what,

What is it, and I say, nothing,

Not because I don’t know, but

Because I just don’t want to talk about it,

About the things I don’t tell my sons, how

The world is not as good as I say it is,

How I have seen a photograph of a boy,

Sitting in the back of a pickup truck, next

To the dead bodies of his family, and how

There are children who are soldiers, who

Wear bombs and ride bicycles and blow

Themselves up, how sometimes words

Mean nothing.

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4 Responses to Words

  1. This is beautiful.

    I have a daughter with apraxia and my older children too ask me when she will talk to them so they can understand. Breaks my heart every time.

  2. Hi, just had to say that is so powerful..My daughter did not talk until she was 5 and her older sister would try so so hard to talk and play with her that is was heartbreaking. I know the feeling of saying nothing because it is so much more than nothing that to start talking would simply be too much.

  3. Mandy Snow says:

    Beautiful! Really spoke to me

  4. Danielle says:

    Simply beautiful. Your words paint a picture, images seem to replace them when you say “how sometimes words mean nothing”.

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