Academic journal article The Hudson Review

The Interpreters

Academic journal article The Hudson Review

The Interpreters

Article excerpt

Only those shallow as creeks in drought misunderstand our helplessness before landscapes that reach the throat. The rest of us know that cliffs or clouds can be addressed only on their own terms, and in languages that have nothing to do with words. There's a school for this, in a country which is a long train ride off, and from birth some of us have aspired to study diere. But when our applications are returned with blank pages inside, we don't know what to do.

So we watch for signs-the tone-marks of a hawk's angled wings before she drops to grass-the directions a dying wave has fingered onto the sand. We would have despaired long ago were it not that once in a while, one of our tongue-tied number vanishes. And returns glorious-fluent in storm cloud, sage, or boiling lava. A child's aptitude for language may surface early, as when his mother notices smoke skirling from his mouth as she points at the sky, or red rock appearing in his hands when she says canyon. …

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