The Toast

20 Feb

by Paul Hostovsky

When Gilbert asked me to be his best man
I started writing this little toast in my head
about the National Braille Press where we all
work, me in transcription, Gilbert and Lisa
in proofreading, where they fell in love among
the dots, reading volumes in the goose bumps,
reading love in each other’s voices. And I knew
there’d be lots of blind people at this wedding,
faces tending to the sides and to the ceiling,
heads swaying to the music of their bodies. And I
pictured the white canes sticking up out of the pews
or folded in the laps in red and white bundles.
And I compared the first time I saw them kiss (I
couldn’t help staring) to two single-engine planes
coming in for a landing, zero visibility, turbulence
as they navigated the air currents and crosswinds
that separated them, touching down successfully
with a bump, then coming to a complete stop
which they held for a very long time, like a lost
suitcase the hands believed they would never
see again. And I described how I loved to look
at the hands reading, and would often eavesdrop
over the shoulders, watching the fingers flying
like the pursed lips of the wind. And when I was done
I brailled the toast and gave it to Gilbert to read,
to run it by him before his big day. But he didn’t
like it. In fact he hated it. It was all about me, he said.
My sensibility via his blindness. The story of his
life. And he didn’t need it repeated on his wedding day.
And he tore it up before my eyes, and sprinkled it
on the floor like so much torn up braille. 

Paul Hostovsky is a sighted Braille instructor in Boston. He is also the author of three books of poetry, Bending the Notes (2008), Dear Truth (2009), and A Little in Love a Lot (2011). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net 2008 and 2009. To read more of his work, visit his website at .


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