“Auditory Tune” grew out of a disconcerting ringing in my left ear that came on suddenly within the past year and then just as randomly went away. The thought that I might have caused the auditory visitation gels with the primal fear that basic needs, impulses and appetites — say, to eat — can lead to a problematic, even shameful condition. In this poem, the speaker is obsessed with dried apricot halves, which look like ears, and can’t stop nibbling them. It’s a funny hang-up: being worried by fruit consumption. But my speaker has it. I, myself, like apricots. But they don’t preoccupy me. So, if she wants, the speaker in this poem can have my share.
I’ve been digging too much in my ears,
Sweet dears. Apricots make me turn
For the closed cupboard door. They lick
Me like a spoon. They tell of iron, of A,
Of scanning the dark for the Chesapeake
Floor. Flesh, twist me to one knee–
Hold on your banks of dried and stored.
Grab onto this grin of shame: you
Shed skin on my jaw. Chew, or smile? Starved
Popularity’s a priest on the moor. Sing cowls
And of coils, my solitary bowl. Forgive me my
Sticky half-heart. Turn your heard back on me.