Dan Veach


Hearing Aids

After years of increasing quiet
they’re back with a vengeance:
the snakelike hiss and slither
of shirt sleeves, sheets of cloth and paper,
the crinkle of candy wrappers
like icebergs calving,
the scritch and scrape
the crunch and crumble
of fallen leaves underfoot.

Drops no longer drip, they trickle.
Even the gently burbling brook
clinks like a jar of pennies
spilling out on a hardwood floor.
The kitchen faucet’s crashing roar
like Niagara on the sink’ll
make you deaf if you weren’t before.
And—dare we say it?—
there’s a whole new wrinkle
to that old expression, “Take a tinkle.”

Dan Veach is the founder and editor emeritus of Atlanta Review and author of Elephant Water, winner of the Georgia Author of the Year Award. Veach’s translations from Chinese, Arabic, Spanish and Anglo-Saxon have won the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and an Independent Publisher Book Award. He is the editor and co-translator of Flowers of Flame: Unheard Voices of Iraq (Michigan State University Press, 2008). Veach has performed his poetry worldwide, including Oxford University, People’s University in Beijing, the American University in Cairo, the Atheneum in Madrid, and the Adelaide Festival in Australia. He also plays bass clarinet and composes music for concert band and orchestra.