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Bird in the Hand

by Paul Hostovsky

From the book: Sighted Guide Technique at the Fine Arts Work Center In your hands the poems in their Braille versions grow longer, thicker, whiter. They are giving themselves goose bumps, they are that good. Still they are only as good as themselves. We are two people wide for the purposes of this exercise. Remembering that is my technique, it's that simple. Remembering it well is success. Success is simply paying attention. Like a poem with very long lines we appear a little wider, move a little slower than most of the community of haiku poets leaping past us with a few right words. A word about doors: they open inward or outward, turn clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on something that you and I will probably never grasp. Doorknobs dance away and the songs of the common house sparrow who is everywhere, you say, play in the eaves as we pass together through the door to the world, you holding my elbow, your elbow and mine making two triangles trawling the air for the tunneling, darting, juking, ubiquitous brown birds.

Dusk Outside The Braille Press

by Paul Hostovsky

From the book: Dusk Outside the Braille Press The lights go on in all the windows but one. It's the one in the northeast corner of the narrow three-story building at 88 St. Stephen Street where the proofreading department misses another sunset. Some of the white canes lean against the wall like backslashes in the unpunctuated dark, and some lie folded underneath the chairs like bundles of long chalk, a red one in each, and the fingers are passing over the dots like wind over buildings, and the braille dictionary in seventy-two volumes is stacked practically to the ceiling like a cord of wood. It steams in the darker darkness of a corner and a book louse is journeying imperceptibly through the D's. A proofreader stops reading, opens her watch and closes it click, reaches under her chair for her cane and opens it chick-a-chick into a white line which she sweeps across an invisible line which she walks straight to the hulking dictionary to look up a word which needs hyphenating. Braille is dots in a cell, lots and lots of cells. Each cell is a three-story building at dusk, the lights on in certain windows and not others. Each book is a city where the blind look in through the windows with their fingers pressed to the panes. Outside it's beginning to snow and each snowflake is a different character in the Complete Works of Beauty which contains only one mistake that the proofreading department can find, and the faces pressed to the windows are saying beautiful. And the fingers checking the time are saying time. And the white canes are opening in a chorus of switchblades and beginning to cut their separate paths home.

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