Listen (verb): To Pay Attention

by Jeannie Kidera

Nearby a deaf woman reads

the lips of her husband as he speaks.

How well she must know his mouth.

The pattern of tiny creases in each lip

memorized over dinner. The subtle

tilt of one corner before a laugh.

Every conversation a study

on the precise formation of his words;

each word a series of mute movements:

a tight rounding, a slight press of tongue to teeth.

Like a scientist, she watches, & at night,

before sleep, kisses this voice

she only sees. A voice so examined

that when they die & God hides the man

in a choir, she will close her eyes & recognize

the shape of his syllables in the air.

Jeannie Kidera holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Bowling Green State University and an MA in English from John Carroll University. Her poetry, creative nonfiction, and reviews have appeared in Whiskey Island Magazine, The Madison Review, New Letters, Mid-American Review, Connotation Press, and Naugatauk River Review. She lives and teaches in Cleveland, OH.