Damaged Villanelle

DAMAGED VILLANELLE

To get rid of the sound of his voice
you take off your ears
but then they grow back.

You try a sharper blade,
two hours hunched over the whetstone,
and, rid of the sound of his voice,

for a day you hear
nothing
until they grow back.

You are not happy.
In birdsong you just hear I’m hungry or Fuck me,
everything threaded with the sound of his voice

you core out your eardrums to escape
and you do for a while
until they grow back.

Little flesh tom-toms announcing the night-march
from within the ridged whorls of your ears
which to get rid of the sound of his voice

you burn off this time
with a blowtorch.
They grow back

sooner than your hair does.
Smoother, this time, too,
and in skids the sound of his voice.

We should note now, though,
that it matters less what he said
than when (and where and how and why).

That whatever it was
was always at night
and though morning would reliably come

and snap night off
like a light or a finger extended
night would always grow back.

Different, more attentive maybe,
or gentle and whiny with rain,
but there, in the doorjamb, back.

— Conor Bracken

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