Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Things could be worse
for me I guess
At least my vision's still
good - and I'm getting better
at reading lips

Have you ever noticed
the overwhelming beauty
of human lips
and their diversity
I want to make a
documentary on lips

I can see their softness
and their strength
the supple flexibility
and the restraint
how small they are
where they leave off
and become face

I hope my doctor doesn't mind
that I don't look her in the eye

She must be used to it
still - I don't want her
to think me rude
but I can't afford
not to see
what she's saying
because I can only
hear about a third
of her words

She's telling me about the bundled
structures they've seen under
the electron microscope
so small even light waves
are too big - and how
they resemble stereocilia

Then I ask her
how soon a clinically
relevant therapy
will be ready
She tells me ten years

It's then that
my eyes wander
and now without
focus and attention
I may hear every third word
but I take none of them in

I'm not looking
to fill in the gaps

It's only when
I hear her tone of voice
change that I bring
my eyes up to hers
and the emotion
I see there
makes me cry
from them both

* * * * *

This poem was written in response to the May 10 prompt at Big Tent Poetry about "listening to language." I was inspired by an article I read on Digg called "New Research Paves the Way for Cure for Deafness" which accounts for some of the language I used, including the title, as well as the theme.


  1. "I want to make a/documentary on lips" -- I love, love lines like these that show the inner thought processes of a poet. The way you crossed between lips and eyes and ears. Half of our senses, rolled together into a complicated interaction that comes down to a seemingly hopeless and helpless end.


  2. Love your description of lips and how important watching them is for someone hearing impaired. This is a very sensitive poem, beautifully written.

  3. Linda and Marianne,
    Thank you both for your kind words. I feel particularly grateful for this poem, as if I tapped into something deep and profound that I didn't know was there.

  4. Well, then. You tapped into your artist, eh?

  5. I guess I did tap into my artist.