Bridge

At thirteen, the stubborn plastic tube
of childhood ear infections had to be removed.

In its wake, the healed hole did not close,
stole bird wind and breath hymns. Instead,

he learned to drum blast beats, buzz rolls,
crash and snare. He learned the muted world,

to turn without fanfare or shame
his better ear toward a quiet voice.

If we had known how easy healing could be
without major surgery, we’d have done it sooner.

With simple tool, a doctor roughed the edges
of the perforation, made a bleeding wound

of tympanum, and with a common hole punch,
cut a dot of paper thin as cigarette skin.

When she placed it on the ragged hole,
it became a bridge for blood, for hope,

for cells to build themselves a road
over the small chasm. Sound began to cross

at once. Driving home, the radio rushed him.
Overcome, he dialed down brass and bass,

like a solitary monk who hasn’t seen a friend
in years first bows from the neck, the waist,

then holds him at arms’ length
before the caught breath, the full embrace.

2017

One Response to “Bridge”

  1. eduardo says:

    After my own series of childhood middle-ear infections, I was left with (at best) half of normal hearing — 20% in my right; 80% in my left. Now, the hearing-aided world oft seems too boisterous, too cacophonous. But, too, the otherwise missed sounds. So much auditory wonders I miss, without my hearing aids.
    So, yes. There is a holding “at arms’ length” that I may fully gaze upon this unknown-before wonder; followed by, “the caught breath, the full embrace.”

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