little kids with hearing aids

by Jason Emde

have always had a peculiar power

to make me sad. More than

other obvious problems, I mean.

This may or may not be connected

to a Disney film about deaf kids

I saw at the Polson Theatre in 1981;

I could be wrong but I think

it was called Amy. A kid got hit

by a train & I cried in the dark.

The power to make me unhappy:

blameless little shells

on the sides of springtime heads

plugged right in the centre with

fancy technology that belongs —

clearly — in older, grizzlier ears. 

Take them out or turn

them off — however they

work — & no beach waves, bird

song, Beethoven, Beatles. No Beatles!

I look at my sons, young & 

smooth & mostly blameless,

& I revere their ears, which take

everything in. But maybe I’m wrong

about all this, too — if my boys could

turn the world down they’d lose

not only Nilsson & Nirvana

but also the asshole dog next door, 

kitchen arguments about money,

the diabolic squawk of Trump-era tv,

dad’s querulous bullshit about work

& weather, decrepit men sucking their teeth 

& the clocks, the clocks ticking,

the clocks blameless & busy,

lifting partitions & waving hello

& goodbye.

About the Author

Jason is a teacher, writer, amateur boxer, Leonard Cohen enthusiast, and graduate student in the MFA Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia. He is also the author of 'My Hand’s Tired and My Heart Aches' (Kalamalka Press, 2005) and the co-author of the parodic action novel 'The Crunch Gang Meet the Deadly Zombie Ninjas of Japan' (Amazon e-book, 2018). His work has appeared in Ariel, The Malahat Review, Anastamos, Miracle Monocle, Prometheus Dreaming, Panoply, Cleaver, Soliloquies Anthology, and Who Lies Beautifully: The Kalamalka Anthology. He lives in Japan with his wife, Maho, and their sons, Joe and Sasha.