Listen, a Poem
Listen, by Sandra Zuidema
You'll never know unless you do.
As a baby, you were a master, a genius
of discernment. Two tender ears devoted
to vibrations and harmony and noise.
They twitch when the Blue Jay sings.
Warbling its perch it beckons a mate
to nestle deep in the pine that stands
outside your nursery window.
The response, faint and far, unheard
the Blue Jay caught another—a
worm in the morning dew,
two lovers never meet.
Every day your mother sings
a lullaby and whispers, "I love you."
Your sleep capped eyes pulse
a drumbeat of your heartbeat.
Its symphony builds an affinity then
pours down over your head
thick as honey, warm and devouring.
Alarm! The never-ending buzz of electric jolts
trickle up your spine, the vibration dances
on the nightstand near your head,
the bird flies away as mother clanks in the kitchen,
she packs your lunch box with a note.
Santa had his list; he still asked what you wanted.
You unwrapped a video game that year.
Your eyes never blinked. T-shirt crept to
touch your earlobes, and tongue dams the drool,
which collected for hours on end.
The final blow came with earbuds
finishing off your weaning,
they ended childhood dreams.
It's been a lifetime since quiet walks through woods.
Twigs crackling underfoot
as dew drips from the tips of waving leaves,
each drop like a metronome tempo
slowly moving side to side.
YouTube has a video of a deaf girl;
they activate her Cochlear implant.
Before this point, she never heard her father's voice.
Then he speaks to her.
At first, she opens her eyes wide and smiles;
then she sobs.
Outside, the unknown comes inside,
now known it is always whispering.
Earbuds in and fingers flying
you are deaf and alone.
Unable to hear
mother whispers, "I love you."
© 2018 Sandra Zuidema