‘My Deafness, My Mother’s Deafness, My Grandad’s Deafness’ by John Barron (Issue 86)

My Deafness, My Mother’s Deafness, My Grandad’s Deafness

Was felt inside that P.E. bag my mum stitched from old curtains.
Was salt grains scattered over the tablecloth.
Was stew, chilblains and Snowfire.
Was grandad’s puzzled face frowning over the cot.
Was what I woke into.
Was a far-out farm with wind and NPK for company.
Was the spaces between ticks of the clock.
Was the bus door drawn back and the sea smelt behind too-high hedges.
Was, for a penny in the slot, the voice of the laughing sailor drowned.
Was “Hey you, space case, wake up!”
Was the sound of our mouths on empty pop bottles.
Was my dad’s slurred speech inferred beneath blankets.
Was the ladder to the attic we never had.
Was my good ear turned to the pillow.
Was my good ear turned away from the fair.
Was the skin on a wrist’s white underside.
Was planetary, was the blanks between stars seen beyond street lights.
Was that dip in the Wolds the sun touched late.
Was our mouths mouthing the song of the swift.
Was the wings of a bat quartering the beck.
Was work that got in the way of the writing.
Was given, was the unspoken in books.
Was the green lane not shown on any maps.
Was my own mapped consciousness,
And the boy who moves now his bodiness slowly,
Who moves his slow face, still working at words.

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