Air

I almost named my son after Amelia Earhart.
I admire how Earhart is pronounced like the sky
she flew in, and not the way it looks, like the organ of hearing.
At the audiologist, after my sudden deafness, certain words
sounded muffled, so that here became there, and throw,
with its lightness, became stow. Sloping high frequency loss
can initially be mistaken for airplane ear. I hadn’t been on a plane.
I was still tethered to a bed nursing, although there were many
transportive afternoons when it did seem as if we were high above
the ground, just the two of us, me and Miles, a word Amelia Earhart
must have said all the time; knowing this, I felt less
alone. Our mattress was on the floor. Those days, I only left it
to microwave hot dogs or stare briefly at my face in the mirror,
my vacant eyes like busted compasses. I caught pneumonia
from Miles. The infection permanently damaged the delicate
hairs of my left inner ear, but his name is never one
I have trouble distinguishing. I read that children who lose hearing
more easily learn concrete words like cloud and nose, but as a mother,
I had already fallen in love with abstractions like need and awe.

 

 

 

 

Alicia Rebecca Myers’s poetry has appeared in various publications, including Best New Poets 2023, River Styx, Sixth Finch, december, and SWWIM. Her chapbook of poems, My Seaborgium (Brain Mill Press, 2016), was winner of the inaugural Mineral Point Chapbook Series. Her first full-length manuscript, Warble, was recently chosen by former Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg as winner of the 2024 Birdy Poetry Prize (Meadowlark Press) and will be published in 2025. She holds an MFA from NYU and lives with her husband and their nine year-old in upstate NY.