C. Cleo Creech
Fucking the Deaf
There was that year going
to Birmingham for NIH drug studies,
driving over each Sunday afternoon
for Monday mornings full of
fluorescent lit waiting rooms,
steel stethoscopes, finding veins.
Then the long drive back to Atlanta,
careful to remove any dry-blood
band-aided cotton balls.
There was that little bar
down the street from my hotel,
that cute little deaf boy—
where even without sign language
we seemed to more than manage.
He could read lips, read my body, and really
what was there to say.
I never lied to him.
But sometimes there were late night phone calls
where I’d turn my back, raise my finger
calling time out, my body suddenly
rigid and tense. Calls
from another country
land of too much talking
to this hotel room island nation
where I made love to this deaf boy
no questions, no answers
lips only for long kisses
bodies bathed in sweat and silence.
C. Cleo Creech is the author of art/chapbooks including Dendrochronology, Flying Monkeys, and Phoenix Feathers. His poems have appeared in Glitterwolf Magazine and in the anthology The Queer South: LGBTQ Writers on the American South (Sibling Rivalry, 2014), edited by Douglas Ray. In 2012, his anti-bullying poem, “The Peace of Gentle Waves,” became the text fore a choral work composed by Dean Rishel and performed in concert by the Greater South Jersey Chorus. His current poetry project is a daily pic/poem feed on Instagram @creech444. A North Carolina native, Cleo was raised on a tobacco farm deep in the Bible Belt and now lives in Atlanta, GA with his husband Michael.