A surgeon soon will open your ears,
letting in the din. For years,
I’ve watched the sparrows perched
in your lap leap into their deft display
of notes and calls, but never caught the song, no more
than you, with the best interpreter, the beck and shrug
of the verbal music we sing. A sparrow sings
on a sunny day in winter, and so you’ve sung the sun
in wintry silence, hearing only
in the stranger’s face or lover’s touch
what others hear in words. I don’t know much
about your quiet world
though I’ve pressed its labyrinthine shell
to my ear (as you must, at times, our mute one)
and wondered at the cloistered ocean billowing there.
I’ve tried to imagine how hearing us will stun you
as well as your mouth’s first stumbling steps,
but I’m sure, when sound breaks through your youth,
it must be much like the moment when, at last,
the deaf mind hears the marvelous tongue of truth.
Ken Anderson (Decatur GA) was a finalist in the 2001 Saints and Sinners poetry contest. New Poetry from the Festival (an anthology of the 2021/2022 winners and finalists) includes four of his poems. His poetry books are The Intense Lover and Permanent Gardens. Publications include London Grip, Lullwater Review, Penumbra, Sangam Literary Magazine, and Toho Journal.