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Tinnitus – Clare Langan  / Tinnitus – John McAuliffe

July 8th - 14th 2013

Clare Langan Tinnitus

John McAuliffe Tinnitus


by John McAuliffe

My father’s tinnitus is like the hiss off a water cooler,
only louder. And it doesn’t just stop like, say, a hand-dryer—the worst is
it comes and goes. Or you shine a light on it
and it looks permanent as the sea,

a tideless sea that won’t go away. The masker
he’s been prescribed is a tiny machine, an arc of white noise
that blacks out a lot
but can’t absorb the interference totally

any more than you or I—taking the air,
stirring milk into coffee, daydreaming through the six o’clock news,
trying to sleep on a wet night—
can simply switch off what’s always there, a particular memory

nagging away, the erosive splash off a little river
wearing away the road, say, on the Connor Pass,
a day out, through which he’d accelerate
in the flash, orange Capri.

from Next Door

By kind permission of the author and Gallery Press