He sits at table, as do we all,
In straight-back chair, quietly listening.
Yet his silence is not like the rest;
A sadness dampens the conversation.
Then we rise to leave, joshing as usual
And walk, talking, down a familiar stair,
I tug to his sleeve so he could follow;
Into the alleys and nearby avenue.
As we come into the street he hesitates
As if to speak to an assembled crowd.
His eyes lighting in anticipation,
Like ice lit when a winter moon comes clear.
No words follow; his lips move silently
While from his shaking throat
Comes enraged muteness,
As if it no longer knew of sound.
“already,” I think, “he’s reached the other side.”