Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Broken Ear and all its monsters

Brand new rough first draft not time to work right now:

The Broken Ear and all its Monsters

In a spoon waved back and forth over a candle,
like an ancient and primitive ritual, my father
heated oil to pour into my brother's ears.
I imagine, but don't remember, a quiet incantation.
My brother, maybe eight, was plagued with earaches
and the warm oil was supposed to help
in some way that I, at nine, could not fathom.
I watched my father tip my brother's head, the bent
ear first, and pour a long thin stream of oil,
my brother wincing and starting slightly.
My father, when provoked, would grab
my brother's ear and twist it.  My brother
excelled at provoking my father , we, all three,
provoked my father, with our thrashing
teenage angst that lasted well beyond
our teens, but my brother started first.
Later, he became my father's favorite,
and I the outcast.  At nine, I thought
it was my father's sudden twisting
that had broke my brother's ear.  But perhaps
he was born that way, with the seventh-
generation curse from our pirate ancestors
or with some twist of genetics that no nurture
could overcome.  Broken ears or not,
we each housed flailing monsters
who drew on us the fury of first our parents
and then our partners.

Mary Stebbins Taitt
1st, Thursday, July 23, 2009, 12:43 PM

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