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The Local Language

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The way she puts her fingers to his chest when she greets him.

The way an old man quiets himself,

or that another man waits, and waits a long time, before speaking.
It’s in the gaze that steadies, a music

he grows into—something about
Mexico, I imagine, how he first learned about light there.

It’s in the blank face of every child,
a water that stands still amid the swirling current,

water breaking apart as it leaves the cliff and falls forever
through its own, magnificient window.

The way a young woman holds out a cupped hand, and doves come to her.

The way a man storms down the street as if to throw open every door.

And the word she mouths to herself as she looks up from her book—for
that word, as she repeats it,

repeats it.

Ralph Angel, “The Local Language” from Twice Removed. Copyright © 2001 by Ralph Angel. Reprinted by permission of Sarabande Books, Inc.
Source: Twice Removed (Sarabande Books, 2001)
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The Local Language

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