Issue #2 |

Dear Lon Chaney

I, too, grew up among the deaf. I learned to use my hands

for understanding, to change my face to exaggerate emotions.


Sometimes I used glue or wires. Sometimes I used putty.

I moved from silence into speech. I changed my name


to something shorter. I pretended to curse my house,

pretended to haunt the catacombs. I darkened my eyes.


I took on the rictus of a monster exposed as I sat at

a keyboard, pretending to play. I cannot say I did this


for you. Still, I knew you, recognized the impulse to loose

a chandelier upon a crowd or pull a rival down below a river.


I have had to pretend I never wanted to be unmasked, grown

known for my talent for makeup, for wild-eyed invention.

Ruth Foley lives in Massachusetts, where she teaches English for Wheaton College. Her work appears in numerous web and print journals, including Adroit, Sou’wester, Threepenny Review, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Her poems can also be found in several anthologies, including the Best Indie Lit New England anthology. She is the author of the chapbooks Sink and …

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