The Ear

Go sift that ale?  Take a needle, prod the fold where it curves into the hole: you’ve defused your appendix.  Careful.  The Egyptians knew that the breath of life enters the right ear, the breath of death the left.  Go sniff that snail?  Look inside: the key parts turn out to be a stirrup, a hammer, and an anvil, each no bigger than a doll’s toy and packed in water.  Night at last—then it picks up your pulse, loud and clear, try to sleep through that.  Mussolini learned to box the ear that wasn’t receiving as it should.  Go biff that hail?  No good: the stirrup is a remnant of the second gill arch, as is the hyoid bone at the base of the tongue.  The ear is part mouth.


Mark Cunningham