A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

For a Friend Going Deaf by Jane Rosenberg LaForge

For a Friend Going Deaf

The sun is a sack

that feeds the chick,

 

dispatching the argument

over whether ability

 

precedes need, as in

pears to butter, birds to seed.

 

You come to know the quality

of your humanity by how

 

you consider the equation:

from the top down, a kind

 

of sinking, or if you first glimpse

the bubbles at the bottom,

 

what opens gills to oxygen,

their absence demanding

 

the evolution of wings. Where

does ballast originate in

 

this silent medium? In salt,

in signals, in ink that settles

 

the words we mouth into

columns, the cooing to

 

a new species. When my father

lost his hearing, he saw spikes

 

rather than stars; what hammered

the railroad to the earth as he

 

experimented with explosives,

the railroad’s warning system

 

for oncoming boxcars. You say you’re

losing your best sense; you’ll be

 

trapped in a shell, beneath obstacle

without ambiance, the air that carries

 

sounds of a breast nestling to soothe

wet feathers, or the careless hands

 

of city children as they learn to turn

the eggs, ensuring they are watched

 

by the light equally. True loss is

not like that, slight and gradual.

 

It’s more like teaching someone

to stand on her own, through

 

orbit and tumble, and when

you finally lift your palm away

 

from her shoulders, she feels

as though she has always

 

mastered this keening sound

and precarious balance.

Jane Rosenberg LaForge

Jane Rosenberg LaForge writes poetry, fiction, and occasional essays from her home in New York. She is the author of four chapbooks of poetry and three full-length collections, the most recent being Medusa's Daughter from Animal Heart Press. She has also published a memoir and two novels. Her 2018 novel, The Hawkman: A Fairy Tale of the Great War (Amberjack Publishing), was a finalist in two categories in the Eric Hoffer awards. She reads poetry for COUNTERCLOCK literary magazine and reviews books for American Book Review.

 

Jane Rosenberg LaForge