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in ASL]



In English and American Sign Language (ASL) Gloss

It all starts with an itch here and there
I never think
much of it
then I catch
my dog trying to scratch again
so until then they stay vampires nestled in fur claws locked in the jugular percolating the sweetest blood
  itch-back-of-the-hand {here-there-body}   thing nothing
  then spot-notice   dog {scratch-scratch-behind ear}
  all-along moment that
  become vampire
  hide {LIPS:POW} f-u-r {row-of-teeth TEETH-BARED
  teeth-clamp-shut-on-jugular-vein   SWALLOWS} 
  blood sweet perfect
I often wonder about how small and unobtrusive the flea is, making its first appearance on the floor or anywhere because it looks like just another tiny bug that’s not going to bother you. Yet fearing what might be causing that itch is the same as fearing whether the coronavirus is indeed causing that unexpectedly dry cough and fever: how much the smallest of things can trigger the largest of uncertainties on a global scale. After all, it was the flea that had spread the infamous Black Death.


In ASL Gloss

Water out-there black see-through can’t
Eyes-cry-cry hard see clear
Pray-pray see water clear

Water here all-along
Moon-move-down water-up
Moon-up water-down

Pray-pray long-ago young
Fear evaporate
Water help fade

Eyes-cry-cry whew eyes hurt
Me-look sun {face-turns-away-in-pain}

Pray-pray sun-hit water clear see-through

Sun reflect water bright whew
Me-remember friends die many
Eyes-cry-cry still

Eyes-cry-cry-dribble shirt wet-wet
But river feel call-me
One-day eyes-cry-cry flow-down-river stop will

Raymond LUCZAK is the author and editor of 25 titles, including Flannelwood (Red Hen Press) and once upon a twin (Gallaudet University Press, forthcoming in February 2021). His latest book is Compassion, Michigan: The Ironwood Stories (Modern History Press). His work has appeared in PoetrySouth Carolina Review, Passages North, and elsewhere. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA).


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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