Tag Archives: lips

The Braille Lesson

16 Nov

by Paul Hostovsky

The letters were all locked up in the Braille cell
calling to her in one voice as she passed her index
over them. It was her first day, her first lesson.
How could they possibly fit in there, she asked him,
and how would she ever learn to tell them apart
without a pencil sharpener for her finger? She laughed
as she said this, and her laughter touched something in him
that needed to be touched. He suggested she try
touching the letters to her lips, because her lips
knew better, and could feel what her fingers could not,
not yet, being a beginner. Then he took a deep breath
as she held the white page up to her face, so it looked
like she was reading with her eyes, but really she was
reading with her lips. And yes, she could feel the dots
better that way, she said, and continued grazing them
with her imperceptibly pursed lips—not kissing them
exactly, just grazing them with her mouth, the way lovers
do between kisses. And although his lips would never
find her lips, her finger did eventually learn all the letters
and contractions by heart. And to this day it still
sometimes returns to her lips, to tap there abstractedly,
as though thinking of him. Or so he likes to think.


Paul Hostovsky is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Hurt Into Beauty (2012, FutureCycle Press). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and two Best of the Net Awards. He makes his living in Boston as a Braille Instructor and Sign Language Interpreter. To read more of his work, visit him at http://www.paulhostovsky.com