— for Alex
In the end, he couldn't teach me to sing
anymore than I could teach a dog to talk.
But he would whistle under his breath:
a little Brahms, a little Beethoven, a little bird
song of his own making
to let us know he was there.
And he would "talk" to us
telling us what he had done that day,
that he heard cars in the street,
or that the sun was shining.
And we would answer
in the only language we knew.
Until even I learned to squeeze out a note
or two in greeting, low and unbird like,
which could not be mistaken
for song or speech,
but a bit of both
even he knew
how to respond to.