MRI of a Child’s Auricle

Blaise Allen

From this view of your ear
I see folds of fissures,
curves of shell washed
clean by briny tears. I see
Three delicate bones of
middle ear: malleus, incus
and stapes, the smallest
bones in the human body.
I see angular vestibules,
skull and sockets. Labyrinth
of tubes, tympanic drums.
But there is no pitch or timbre.
Not one note of a lullaby.
Not even one tiny rhyme.

About the poet:

Blaise Allen, the director of community outreach for the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, is an award-winning poet and photojournalist. Her poems have appeared in East End Elements, Aubade, The Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Naugatuck River Review, Blue Fifth Review, Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, Long Island Quarterly, Mothering Magazine and the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine journal Touch. “I bridge my passions for social welfare and poetry through community engagement in the arts, promoting voice, culture and language-arts education.”

About the poem:

“My friend’s young daughter was diagnosed with a rare congenital disorder called cholesteatoma, in which a noncancerous skin cyst develops in the middle ear and sometimes expands into the skull. The surgeons had to remove her ear bones in order to remove the cysts in her skull. This poem just came from a place of empathy. I’m happy to report that she is now in remission. The doctors were able to reconstruct her ear bones, and she has only partial hearing loss.”

Poetry editors:

Johanna Shapiro and Judy Schaefer

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3 thoughts on “MRI of a Child’s Auricle”

  1. Stephanie Friedman

    I find this an extraordinarily moving poem. Even after several readings it brings tears to my eyes. Something about the juxtaposition of the precise anatomy of the ear and the description of sensations that miraculous organ can bring to the hearer. The beauty of the poem resides in the effect of the bombardment of one part of the poem with the other, like the collision of atomic particles. Something explodes inside the reader, who realizes he or she has been taken by surprise, something has been breached, but in the best possible way. It’s why we need good poetry: We need to be reached and touched in this way. Thank goodness for poets.

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