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The Sounds I Cannot Hear Clearly Anymore Add Up to the Sum of Silence by Martin Willitts, Jr.

The Sounds I Cannot Hear Clearly Anymore Add Up to the Sum of Silence 

Consider the ears that cannot hear
the small sounds within the silence of a forest,
the hush-break when a rabbit squirms from sight
trying to avoid fox’s sharp ears, fierce teeth,

or a butterfly in half-light alighting on milkweed,
or the sound of an ocean still trapped
in a conch shell, or the breath when trudging
uphill through brambles and branches.

I mishear words. Consider how language breaks:
I stammer to hear what cannot be what I hear.
The blankness of my stare should be a clue.
Never let it be said that clarity has no value.

If I press my ear to the heartbeat of words,
no soft rumble rises as thunder over a solemn lake.
Instead, a swan glides making a no-sound.
Words collide, smudge together.

This is how I hear words: the slight correction.
It reminds me of when people think they hear something,
but what was said had an entirely different meaning.
Consider what people cannot hear over arguing.

by Martin Willitts, Jr.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/martin.j.willitts

Editor’s Note: This poem’s imagery focuses on sound in order to emphasize the loss of hearing with all of its myriad sorrows.


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