Sign Language

Paul Hostovsky

Paul Hostovsky

Sign Language was accepted as part of MSUL Short Edition's call for submissions on the theme of "Home," in partnership with the Broad Art Museum's fall 2021 exhibition "Where We Dwell." Paul Hostovsky is the author of twelve books of poetry and five poetry chapbooks. His poems have won a Pushcart Prize, two Best of the Net Awards, the FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize, and have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer's Almanac. He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter. Website:

Maybe I should tell the ending first.
In the beginning was the ending.
If it's a story worth telling, a song
worth singing, it should sing itself. KISS-FIST
is one sign for love. Two fists crossed
at the chest, like a hug, is another. Signing
was hands-down the most beautiful singing
I had ever seen in my life. That's the gist
of the story, the plot, the characters, each
and every visual rhyme, first line to last.
When you fall in love with a language, you fall
in love with the people who call that language
home. One day, I took a sign language class,
and I ended up marrying the teacher.

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