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our language without words - kristine ma

Artwork by Michelle Dong, staff artist

our language without words

it goes like this—

you challenge me with a waltz,

by chopin, but neither of us

remember the opus number. my eyes

fall on the stack of rusting

chairs behind us, the way your foot

presses the pedal

up and down, up and down,

like a boat on the ocean—

so i respond with ravel’s une barque sur l’ocean:

glittering arpeggios to ondine

and back again— i tell

you a story

that leaves no words.

i wonder if you can hear the promises

between the dissonances

in my wrong note étude.

your sweeping eyes tell me

that you do,

these cadential interludes

mirroring the spaces

where our bodies don’t connect.

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