Visiting St. Vincent’s Hospital (1990)
I will continue to pretend. My heart
still brakes for you in the elevator
as I stare out, nonchalantly apart.
I must continue to pretend. My heart
droops like grapes. What would a cultivator
do with those alarming lines on your chart?
Your pulse has weakened, a timid blip.
The machines keep you alive while I seethe,
trapped effectively against one more flip.
So I continue to pretend. Your heart
gasps. I palpitate when you try to breathe.
It’s become damn hard to fake smiles. My heart
can’t bear new stents inserted while you sleep.
I’m learning again what it means to weep.
Raymond Luczak‘s play Snooty won first place in the New York Deaf Theater’s 1990 Samuel Edwards Deaf Playwrights Competition, and his essay “Notes of a Deaf Gay Writer” was a cover story in Christopher Street magazine. He edited Eyes of Desire: A Deaf Gay & Lesbian Reader (Alyson Books, 1993), which won two Lambda Literary Award nominations (Best Lesbian and Gay Anthology, and Best Small Press Book). In 2005, he relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he continues to write, edit, and publish.