for Richard Chenault 1957 – 1995
Your voice translated me,
a lucid memory.
You videotaped my hands, words.
Now that’s all gone to the birds.
What led you to sign, to grasp?
Your fluency made me gasp.
You turned deaf to others sneering.
Your ears were so used to hearing.
Translate me one more time.
I loved how we could rhyme.
Death’s a cruel interpreter:
Nothing translates for later.
Silence is always a powerful statement, but even more so in the hands of Raymond Luczak, who demonstrates in his third collection what it’s like to navigate between the warring languages of confusion and clarity. As a deaf gay man in the hearing world, he lends an unforgettable voice to his reality of ache and loss beyond the inadequate translation of sound.