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.

 


 

From GDS#30

Image source here