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Acoustics for the Deaf

                                    Melanie Carter


No sound is too small. Not the spider’s treadle.
Or onto a pool of water, a leaf’s landing.

Because the body, attuned to loss, will listen
in any way it can, taking in

the air’s tiny undulations,
which gather and build, gather

and script with their loops and arcs
a landscaped narrative the body tells.

Sound is felt. Listen.
Notes unstrung from a koto

glide across his chest and blossom there.
The blooms, threaded one by one

along his collarbone, tremble
with the intake of breath.

Outside his hut, in the field, villagers go about
their work. His name

floats among them. Kiyoshi.
Sometimes it washes over him.

Sometimes it ticks like a pebble
in the riverbed of his chest.


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