We sit facing each other
word-build our friendship
while my hands 
that her blindness renders mute
punctuate my words
and my forty three facial muscles
provide no short-cuts.
I stumble on options,  spell out 	
and betray — her, myself, both of us? —
shun body short-hand for a verbal detour
or skip over translating silent tears
disgusted frowns and happy nods.
I mold pieces of me into our common lexicon
funnel gestures and grins into speech
and rely on my vocal cords 
to relay reactions and feelings.

The thing is
I watch myself with sharper eyes
when I look for the words 
to share word-free expressions.

© Marie-Andrée Auclair