Prairie Poetry   Peer Award   Friends Prize Winner
  The Woman Who Could See Sound

It began with lullabies, floating
on the air around her, as familiar
as warm milk and pale flannels. 

When they took her outside,
she could see the pale trellis
of a bird’s call, and the shush

of her small footsteps on the grass, 
sound spreading around her like pillows. 
When she got older, she wasn’t able 

to go to school or into the city,
couldn’t tolerate the ocean of noise
threatening to crash over her

at any moment.  Even a bad wind, 
glass shattering on the tile,
the shrill whistle of a teapot

could make her curl up on the floor
with her hands over her eyes. 
But every night of her life, she lay

in bed with the rocking chair at her side
and watched her mother’s delicate soprano,
the silver strands as fine as spider silk

winding around and around in the dark
until the entire room was illuminated
by the sound of her mother’s voice. 

  Leah Browning
  Copyright © 2007 Leah Browning
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