National Poetry Month, Poem #13

Manual for the Deaf

In lesson 33 we learn
the world, which is a circle
made of both hands, and
we learn direction, north,
one hand rising straight
toward heaven. There is
debt here, too, but only
as much as one palm, open,
can hold.

Praise is here and promise,
that finger to the mouth
as if to tell a child
his sister sleeps
beyond an open door.

But the word that leaves us breathless
is faith: faith,
the palm that lies up, floating,
the palm that waits for the other
to fall to it and tighten as if
to press and save a wet leaf, mothwing,
heart made of paper.

-Marti Mihalyi

I have a framed copy of this poem hanging on a wall in my house. This poet is a dear friend of mine. I remember listening to Marti do a reading in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho a few years ago and how she brought this poem to life with her expressive voice and graceful movements .


  1. Anonymous10.5.09

    I took Intro to Poetry from Marti at U of Idaho... 3 times. Greatest poetry teacher I've ever had, I hope she's doing well. :)

  2. I too took poetry (and non-fiction writing) from Marti at UI, and I remember when she gave us this poem in class--it still leaves me breatless. She is an amazing teacher and an even more exceptional friend. She is still doing well and is currently teaching at Baker University in Kansas.

  3. I took tons of creative writing classes from Marti at Baker. She's helped me in so many ways with my writing. I'm getting my MFA right now at Emerson College and I know I wouldn't if it wasn't for her.

  4. I took several creative writing classes from Marti at Baker, as well. What a fantastic writer! She's helped me shape not only my writing, but my life.


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