My father, always eloquent before, stumbles painfully now,
particularly if he’s trying to talk directly to me or others.
So he turns his face aside, speaks towards the trees outside.
“I would love to make the shrimp bisque in this book,” he tells himself,
or muses, “One of my favorite movies is Invincible. Top three,” as if no one else
were in the room. The only way he can make the words come unimpeded.
Like stutterers whose speech smooths only when they sing. Like the man
with Parkinson’s who can cross a floor only when it’s painted like stairs.

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