Hearing Aids

Gene Groves

At night in secluded bolt-holes these secret agents skulk,
hunger for release.
Each battery compartment, mouth agape, holds
its subversive tongue.
In solitary confinement
sleepers, outwardly compliant, lie low
breathe not a word.
Morning, and a vicious pin burrows deep,
scours out clods of wax from jellied mollusc moulds,
patterned to me, my ears their shells.
Clamped against my skin, incognito, they fear betrayal.

Pressed, one beep makes my hearing come to life
as sound sucks through
thin tubes.
I can crack codes, get the drift
of scrambled ciphers, intercept arcane messages,
translate lettuce to letters.
Touch the T switch, two beeps and I am
in the loop
can take on interrogation
by the sign of the slashed ear,
lips under close surveillance.

Synchronized, reprogrammed
I am good to go.
The latest intelligence? My kettle's an engine,
the kitchen tap
a waterfall.



Gene Groves at Gullfoss, in Iceland

Gene Groves is originally from Rhyl, North Wales. She trained as a teacher in Manchester and lived there for 12 years before moving to Northumberland. After gaining a social work diploma at the University Of Northumbria she worked in accommodation for homeless women, then as a probation officer. All excellent as a distraction from writing!

Gene writes short stories (three published so far) but mainly writes poetry. She enjoys reading her work at performance venues in Newcastle and has found the monthly Scratch Tyne events, run by Apples and Snakes, helpful and fun. She is a member of Newcastle's excellent Carte Blanche women's writing group. Currently, she is completing a poetry collection.

Gene had 35 poems in Flambard New Poets 2 (Flambard Press) with three other poets. Her poems have been published in various magazines and anthologies including: Orbis, New Welsh Review, The Interpreter's House, Weyfarers, Obsessed With Pipework, Prole, Tellus, Iron, Book Of Ten (Zebra Publishing), Curious Symmetry and Coastline, An Anthology Of The Welsh Coast (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch).

In 2012, poems were shortlisted in the Southwark Cathedral Poetry Competition and The Ilkley Literature Festival Poetry Competition. She won the Editor's Commendation for the Pre-Raphaelite Society Poetry Prize 2013 and the poem was published in the PRS Review, the journal of the Pre-Raphaelite Society.

She says: "This poem, Hearing Aids, began in a Carte Blanche writing group session. I had been staying with my aunt in Manchester and became familiar with some of the difficulties she experienced. She wore two hearing aids and I accompanied her to audiology appointments at her local hospital. One morning she put her hearing aids in and remarked that the tap I turned on sounded like a waterfall, so loud. People are often secretive about wearing hearing aids and this is part of the poem."

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Hearing Aids © 2014 Gene Groves: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.