It’s a father and daughter tour
and we stop for some famous cliffs.
A mountain valley running to the west,
waterfalls on a near rock face.
Ten years old,
she rests her chin on the railings to look.
I find a plaque that gives us
brief biographies of trees,
the local wind resistant scrub.
It names names: that far peak,
the wrecked escarpment to the north.
Then the barely noticeable braille
punched out across the bottom of the sign
claims her attention. It’s a rough
text she has never met,
stairways and doors of dots
the same dark blue as the background.
I explain. Eyes closed,
she lets her fingers move across
this touchable translation.
She opens her eyes and scans
the view again, almost as if——I can tell——
she has never looked that hard before.
Scoops of cliff, the horizon
with it’s worn ridges, a squall
approaching up the valley
I watch her watching,
asking herself how she could ever see
these sharp-edged sweeps of land
through her fingertips. We are both
lost in the same wondering.
Along the walking track
my daughter feels the braille with both hands
whenever we find it footnoting
the smoothness of painted print.
She seems to be playing a small piano.
She does not watch the keyboard.
She is looking blindly into the sky
when the forgotten squall
arrives with a wind shift.
For a moment
we are caught in the open,
imagining the dark
possible world around us.
Rain beginning to read our faces.
Image source here