Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hard Of Hearing

Such a curious phrase. We don’t say hard of seeing. Is it hard as in hardly or hard as hard luck?

Ears all look alike. Some, closer or further from the head or a bit larger but the same labyrinth, Even my daughter’s coil snails just like mine, but with nerves, oxygen-starved at birth.

From an embryonic ocean to this other soundless sea. Was I just a mouth opening and closing, coming at her? And when she cried was it a silent wail unheard by her? I might have said she was a good baby. Nothing woke her. I dropped a piggy bank one day; she slept through the spill of coins.

Unlike van Gogh’s hers appeared fine; un-bandaged. Like Van Gogh she noticed more than I. Not inside the iris of the iris or the spiraling sky but she saw lips and deciphered eyes. Later she read the choreography of fingers and became literate in the language of bodies and moods, fluent in facial gestures, the flare of my nostrils when I’m kidding and the early warning of a frown.

Her fingers, like small birds, knew when to begin their flight, articulate, loudly saying her needs, her name, Janice.

Like Beethoven she’s never heard the orchestra in her head but composes concertos from the amplified garble and static, her own atonal odes of joy. And if she’s been spared the chatter and clamor, the noise and hum of the humdrum, she dances, like her hands, to vibrations in the floor answering a beat I will never know.

In the Morris Broderson painting a man bends his ear listening to a flower, the contrapuntal sounds between petal and leaf. There is a symphony hard-earned in the flower heard only by the deaf with notes drummed and hard as brass reserved for the hard of hearing.

Just as I can close my eyes and see the vivid unseen so must Janice listen to voices of her own making, in realms unheard by me. She knows the hard-edged walls of this world and how to climb them.

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