About the Tale
Of an Old Bay

Have you ever gone
   someplace near the Bay
      and tried sitting by a grumpy,
               lispy lipping leper
            of an old, reddened,
               thick-skinned fisherman
         from those windjamming days
            amid the odorous
      decaying deadfish, seafresh air
   listening to the tales
      of crab grabbing, oyster hoist-raking days
               with gazing agape,
                  with mesmeric awe ---
         thunderstruck by his filthy
         fierce-looking face-carved,
                  blackened white
               meerschaum pipe
   clenched between his tobacco-stained,
         rope-battened teeth ---
            shucking bluefins and
                  occasional oysters
               with rapid sleight
         of water-thickened,
bare hands?

No, I wouldn't have ---
   I wouldn't be able to lipread him.

--- Curtis Robbins
From The Deaf Way II Anthology
©2002, Gallaudet University Press

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