I never knew how stubborn my father was
until I tried to teach him sign language.
I know the universal sign for “stubborn”.
I fold my arms tight to my chest
and pout like a toddler.
To sign “refuse,” shrug,
open palms upwards.
It can also mean “I give up,”
or “I don’t know.”
I learned how to be stubborn from my father.
I persisted at trying, not wanting to quit.
The sign for “repetition” points
both index fingers at each other
which make small, tight circles.
People who don’t want to communicate
circle and don’t meet.
Martin Willitts Jr is a retired librarian. He is an editor of Comstock Review. He won 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest; Stephen A. DiBiase Poetry Prize, 2018; Editor’s Choice, Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, December, 2020; 17th Annual Sejong Writing Competition, 2022. His 21 full-length collections include the Blue Light Award 2019, “The Temporary World”. His recent books are “Harvest Time” (Deerbrook Editions, 2021); “All Wars Are the Same War” (FutureCycle Press, 2022); “Not Only the Extraordinary are Exiting the Dream World (Flowstone Press, 2022); “Ethereal Flowers” (Shanti Press, 2023); and “Rain Followed Me Home” (Glass Lyre Press, 2023).