It’s not silence. It’s the sharp whistle
of a fax machine punctuated by crackling
tinfoil or, softer,
like shuffling in fallen leaves.
Sometimes it’s as rhythmic
as the soughing of the sea, then broken
by the sizzle of static.
He grimaces when he tries to decipher
rapid speech, as if he has just arrived
on this shore like his parents before him.
When he drives, he cocks his head toward me
to catch my drift. In restaurants,
sitting across from me, he leans in so far
I kiss his forehead.
From the night table,
his hearing aids chirp to me.
When I speak into his bare chest,
he gets each word.