Maggie Sawkins

A Pair of Small Ears

I have come to translate the silence.
I’ve bought paper and pencils
and a pair of small ears.


I ask you
not to disturb me
until the task is done.


First I will unwrap the ears
and place them face up
on the floor.


You will observe their strangeness
these tiny shallows
these bridges of bone.


They are waiting for the sound
of no sound –
nothing is permitted


not even the intermittent
buzz of a fly nor the tick of a wall.


You must soften your breath
learn patience –
shuffle along any vagrant thought.


Soon the ears will begin
to quiver – gently they will
pick up the pencils at their side.


Listen closely –
the word is about to be

Maggie Sawkins
“A Pair of Small Ears” first appeared in Magma Poetry, vol. 24, 2002.