A baby girl, I scream
arching my back

Hot!—burning—
the tiny cilia in my little ear canals
singed by fever.

“Give her Tylenol, she’ll be fine.”

Hours of ear-piercing wails
A hospital
I was not fine.

Damaged, barely alive
Unworth the trouble
My beautiful ears now cannot hear

Mother’s sweet whispers
the shhh of a breath

or of wind moving through the trees.

“Such cute little ears!”
What is the point of cute little ears
that can’t hear a damn thing?

People sound far away.
Cotton candy
on a rainy day,
their words melt before I taste them.

I strain my ears,
crane my neck,
lean in closer.

“What?”

I cannot hear,
yet the message is clear.

“What did you say?”
“Nevermind.”

I am not worth the trouble,
not worth the clarification itself.

I stop asking questions.
Lower
my gaze.


These words on the page
are solid and sure

Betrayed by my ears,
I can trust my eyes.
There is no misunderstanding;
no thinking I hear “shoes”
when someone says “news.”

I bury myself slowly.

Bury:
my nose in stories
my questions in the certainty of written words
my feelings under facts
my voice inside silent observations

I read—
I hear without hearing.
Books read me.


In scenes, I’m seen.
I am heard.
I hear.

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