Melbourne on the quiet
a 10-day holiday
with broken hearing aids
He says, they’ll cost about $6000.00, the top range.
I jump in before he grabs an explanatory breath, say
there’s nothing worth hearing at that price.
He says, there’s a $4000.00 middle-of-the-road model,
the government subsidy will lower it further.
They must be desperate to be heard in the Beehive, I murmur,
and yes the hedgehog variety will suit me fine.
He presents a colour palette: Blue Jeans, Pinot Noir, Fiery Temper,
Lunar Eclipse, Creme Brulee, Taupe, Black on Black, and
Green with Envy.
I pick Pinot Noir, a charming little number, attractive but exotic,
creating a lasting impression, complex. Now that
sounds appealing to me.
in my night-time ears,
I stretch & gather
my daytime ears so I too
can pick up this Sunday roof rain
by its sound.
To hearing loss
and the loneliness it brings
the realization that
holding the phone closer isn’t going
to make voices decipherable
that the whole world can’t
jokes lost because the
punch-line repeated thrice loses
the half heard
questions with your totally
the avoidance of
gatherings where you hear everything
two compensations: your teenagers’
music is never too loud
the busking bagpiper can
be turned down
Ruth Arnison is the editor of Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ). She lives in Dunedin, New Zealand. She is the founder of the city’s Lilliput Libraries project, and (with “Step Sister” Sheryl McCammon) founder and co-ordinator of Poems on Steps.
“To Hearing Loss” was previously published in Blackmail Press 2011.