ST. MICHAEL'S FALL: The Audiologist

I was not yet five years old, but I keep finding something unsettling about this picture. Maybe it looks like I am cowering.

But then again, back in 1970, I was feeling overwhelmed by the world I knew then: riding two hours to my foster family in Houghton every Sunday night, staying with them for the week while I attended a speech-oriented program for young deaf children, and leaving Houghton to stay with my biological family on weekends.

I must've felt completely powerless. I didn't know then there was indeed a way out.


The thick gray windows never reveal
her shadowy figure. The audiologist
always has something to conceal
behind those windows. She only reveals
to Mom how I did this year. I steal
a look at my audiogram and her checklist.
The thick gray windows never reveal
her shadowy figure: The audiologist

and I are at war
over my ears, my headphones, my chair.
First she makes a beep, or a low roar--
and then I'm at war with myself. Did I truly hear
that or not? My hand shoots up in the air,
volleying against her score
over my ears, my headphones, my chair.

The thick walls cannot absorb my silence.
I cannot hear anything from outside,
except through my ear-burning, tense
headphones. They absorb her silence.
I wrestle with my ears, my conscience,
as I close my eyes to listen, decide.
The thick walls absorb my silence
as her sounds come from the other side.

Copyright © 1996 by Raymond Luczak.
Taken from his book ST. MICHAEL'S FALL.

Copyright © 2001 by Raymond Luczak. All rights reserved.