Photography © Edward S. Gault

 

Ricky and Melanie

Each morning I watched the way
Ricky’s mother brought him out to the bus.
She held his arm as he slowly
Descended the stairs, and walked in a sort of limp.
He wore a bike helmet in case he should fall.
He wore thick glasses and a hearing aid.
He couldn’t speak.
When they got him on the bus
He would sit by the window
Of the first seat with Melanie.
It was a long ride,
So the two had a lot of time
To get to know each other.
Through reading lips or hand gestures,
Melanie came to understand him.
Over the course of the year
She sat next to him, mastering his language
-discovering who he was.
One day his mother came out of the house
And down to the bus-alone.
She told the driver Ricky was in the hospital
For a little while.
From then on Melanie sat alone in the front seat
Looking out the window on the long ride
To and from school each day.
Until one morning his mother came out again,
Said something to the driver.
Melanie began to cry,
And we understood
That we would not be seeing Ricky again.

 

Edward S. Gault is a poet and fine art photographer. He lives at Mosaic Commons, a co-housing community in Berlin, Ma. He has a wife Karen, and daughter.