Listening to Little Things

by Luke Otley

‘Would you rather be blind or deaf?’
Deaf, I always answered, definitively.
My foot-down certainty
sealed the rest away,
the white noise
of every other living thing
relegated to a back-door vault
for buffet grazing
in times of trauma,
nostalgia or joy.

I adjust my set.
I pick up the tinkle of a chain
linked dog leash;
a cushioned flump
of human weight
on grass blades
delicate as lingerie;
a faltered step speared
with a toddler’s yelp.
Snare slips out
of two inches of window space
and is flattened and packaged
as the yards pull away
from it.

No one here knows
the names of the birds
that call to us.
There is such a wealth
of information
the mundane is saturated.
Try as I might
I don’t have the hardware
to process it. In my ear
strain for the far
and for the fleeting
I fear I’ll miss
what matters most.