It is necessary for every boy to think that his mother is beautiful

Heads turned wherever my mother went

She smiled and said it was because she didn't know how to walk quiet in her
high heels or because she had forgotten to hold her keys from jingling

I smiled because I knew different

One day that smile left my face

There was a beautiful deaf girl on my short yellow bus who got off at a
different school

We made fun of the bus driver a big woman with a mustache always eating out
of her giant lunchbox

One day the girl asked if she could meet my mother because she had never
seen a deaf woman before

I smiled and said yes and I asked the bus driver to wait because I wanted to
show the girl something important

We ran to my front door and I flashed the lights

My mother came smiling under hair curlers and her face in green mud and she
said nice meet you to the girl

The next day the girl said your mother ugly same bus driver

I said nothing and when she got off at her school tears came

When the bus pulled up to my school I didn't move

The bus driver asked me what was the matter and patted my back and opened
her lunchbox and gave me half of her big cookie


John Lee Clark was born deaf to an all-deaf family and became blind in adolescence. He is a graduate of the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. His work has appeared in many publications, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Hollins Critic, McSweeney's, Poetry, The Seneca Review, and Sign Language Studies. His chapbook of poems is Suddenly Slow (Handtype Press, 2008) and he edited the anthology Deaf American Poetry (Gallaudet University Press, 2009). He is married to the deaf cartoonist, Adrean Clark, and they live in the Twin Cities area in Minnesota with their three sons.