say hot dog.
say ice cream.
see, the step into the sound booth is an awkward height,
about 6 inches off the ground,
and i find myself raised on a pedestal,
sealed in for you to inspect,
watching you and an audiologist
through a glass window,
watching you decide my future
as you face away from me
so i cannot read your lips
and you cannot see me shouting stop.
say you might hear static in your right ear
but i know i will only hear a tone,
an electronic beep going on and on and on
say conducive hearing loss say sensoneurial damage say surgery say it might be permanent this time,
like it hasn't been permanent for the last ten years,
say there's a new technique say we can fix this,
say negative impact on social life, say poor classroom performance,
say we just want what's best for you,
say try hearing aids try CIs try cued speech,
say you need to be fixed.
it's been a decade since i first entered that sound booth,
noises not echoing off these walls that take a little more from me with every test.
it's been a decade since my hearing slipped away and
i am done mourning it but i don't think you are.
persistence is a valuable trait but stop trying,
stop putting me under with an x on my right cheek so the surgeons know how to lay me out on the operating table,
stop refusing to turn on the captions because i need the practice,
stop talking to me without tapping me first,
stop screaming at me when i mishear.
i am done mourning my hearing and i don't know if i ever grieved in the first place but you are still stuck in the stage of denial,
hoping against hope for some ******* miracle.
i don't want a miracle, i don't want anything god can give me because i am not lacking, i am whole, i already am the miracle you were looking for and i don't need to be fixed.
but you don’t believe that, do you?
so the audiologist can open the heavy soundproof door but i am still trapped inside this box,
the walls swallowing my words as you decide my future for me because
no one wants to listen to those who cannot hear.
say stop sign,
say push the button when you hear the beep
and i hold it down with my thumb,
gripping the clicker like the handle of a gun
until you tell me to let go.
but i hear deserts stretching away from me,
flat sci-fi dreamscapes where there is only one sound and i can hear it too.
say psychosomatic because you don't believe that i might hear infinity where you tell me i shouldn't.
say hole in the eardrum say the surgery might have accelerated the deterioration,
say we can try again but
i gave up ten years ago and i think you should too,
and i'm here in this sound booth screaming for you to stop
but you will not look at me,
will not even attempt communication.
no one wants to listen
to those who cannot hear.
this is meant to be spoken word.