The God Of Hearing Loss

By Ellen McGrath Smith

As she got older, she gathered more bass
in her voice, as though life’s harder hits

had instructed it to sound less hopeful,
less joyful, less girl. By early adolescence,

her Yes sounded just like her No to me,
and I had to ask again just to confirm

what she’d meant. Another gift, I guess,
from the god of hearing loss, wrapped

in a gauze of unknowing, erasing the shape
of her intentions—giving her, on repeat,

the chance to change her mind, whatever
it was. Giving me the chance to wait

a little longer for her verdict. My child,
my judge, her mountain-range sentences.

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