Spring 2008, Volume 4

Poetry by Nancy Terasaki


When I was 14, I lived
just beyond my father’s
range of hearing. He’d
say, “What?” so often
I’d repeat, at first.  Then

taking a deep breath,
I’d shout, “I said,”
and mumbled the rest.
He’d think I threw the ball
but it never left my hand.

He reached for me with
guesses.  Did I say, “It’s dirty,”
or “Four-thirty”?  If I said,
“Let’s have chicken,”
he asked, “You got a ticket?”

These were lifelines, tangled,
left to fall.  Soon the door
slammed my goodbye.
The turn of my back
told him I was busy.

My father drifted
just beyond my
range of grace.
What I held so close
he never discovered

but the silence of
my small hard mouth
rapping his eardrums,
he knew about that.
He’s gone now, but

if I could, I would
speak clearly one
true kindness, one
whisper loud enough
for him to hear.

BIO:  Nancy Terasaki lives in Torrance, California, with her family. She has been writing poetry for the past few years. She wrote “Whisper” at a time when she was losing her hearing and found herself identifying with her dad and discovering herself—as a 14-year-old—in the process.