My Sister Cleans Out My Ear
John Lane

She worries the water is too warm,
And looks deep into my head with a light.
Is she flushing out my wits, my personality?
Surely there’s more in there than wax.
My ear canal, she says, is narrow
And that’s why the world goes silent on one side
And my head hurts when I fly.

Blame it on my mother or father.
The shape of my ears, high blood pressure,
And bony feet—so many gifts from the dead
That keep on giving. It’s a miracle
We are anybody, much less ourselves.

“There,” she says. “You’re all cleaned out.”
For another month I can hear—
The hum of the refrigerator, the dog
Snoring on the couch, my own breathing.

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