My broken ears healed to the sound of my mother’s laughter;
even before my hearing aids clicked on, it was how I found what I sought after.
In grocery aisles: lost, exposed, and alone,
her bells would break through, calling me home.
It was as if her womb knew it contained a soul already a little battered,
knew how to overcompensate in the only way that could have mattered.
And when I was chosen and growing in warmth and comfort,
it was her laugh sounding through that awoke me from my slumber.
Four years later, with new devices in my ears,
finally I was able to listen to everything there was to hear.
I tuned into birds chirping, trees rustling; everything sounded crisper,
And I began to hear the words people kept to themselves, a whisper.
“She’s so loud,” “I could hear her coming from a mile away,”
“I had to hold the phone away from my ear,” “her laugh is a horse’s bray.”
No one knew the secret debt my mother had paid to me that made her loud,
No one knew she was destined for a deaf kid, her laugh calling to me in the crowd.
It seemed the little bit of favor that was the volume at which my mother spoke
was, to the rest of the universe, an insult to prod her with, a cosmic joke.
I still listen to the insults quietly aimed toward her, now thinking it’s tragic
that no one understands that a loud mother with a deaf daughter: it’s actually magic.