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.